Every day we are bombarded with distractions that keep us from achieving our goals in the time we set them out for. Some distractions, like family, roommates, and the inner circle, are unavoidable and require tact to work through. Others, like the internet, are completely avoidable and just takes a high degree of self-control to conquer. Here are three common distractions that keep us from achieving our goals and how we can work through or around them to accomplish what we set out to do.
1. The Internet
The internet is the event horizon of a black hole: once you’ve reached a certain point, there’s no coming back. In terms of distractions, what that means is once you’ve allowed a certain amount of negative or useless material into your mind, you’re doomed to be pulled into a vortex of negativity and unproductivity the rest of the day.
Keep in mind that negativity and unproductivity are two different things. Negativity can lead to unproductivity, but positive experiences, such as getting online with friends for games during a time designated for self-development, is also unproductive.
Social media, Facebook in particular, is usually the culprit for wasted time. It’s scrolling interface, content variety, and mass appeal make it nearly impossible to stay away from for more than twenty four hours. YouTube is a close second, with endless video and streaming content making it too easy to get sucked into for hours.
Although it’ll take an astounding degree of self-control, avoiding social media is indeed possible. The key is organization. Set time away specifically for social media. Doing so and sticking to your schedule keeps you from constantly scrolling the internet throughout the day, throwing away countless productive hours. I usually set my time to check social media in between my first work session (30-minute break) and two hours before bedtime.
2. Your Job
We often tend to bring our troubles from work home with us. On-the-job worries such as deadlines and difficult bosses and co-workers can make leaving work at work easier said than done. However, it’s still critical to your peace and productivity to check all of your problems at the office door.
To help with this, try meditation. Meditation helps you move beyond thought without putting weight to it. At work, of course you have to think about the work you’re doing. But when you’re off the clock and driving home, let all thoughts of work loose and focus instead on the good that’s on your way home. Think about that idea you’re now able to dig deeper into, or the chapter of that self-development book you’re able to finish.
Even if it’s just for five minutes, at least give your mind the chance to get away from your job. If your 9-5 is not a bigger part of your future, ask yourself why you’re stressing so hard. If it is, understand that worrying literally does nothing but take you away from the present moment, robbing you of any opportunity to come up with a solution. If it’s that important, stay at work and take care of it or come home, give yourself a breather, then finish it at home. If not, set away an hour of “worry” time two hours before bed and direct the rest of your time towards productivity and being in the moment.
3. Your Home Life
Whether you’re a father and trying to juggle children, a husband/boyfriend needing to please his other half, or you have multiple roommates working different hours of the day, home distractions can be a major factor in any road blocks towards your goals. It’s the trickiest of distractions of all to handle because they involve loved ones or ones in your inner circle.
Regardless of relationship, boundaries are critical. Without them, miscommunication occurs, leading to confusion, hurt feelings, frustration, and anger among all parties involved. What you should do is establish “You” time where nothing or no one is allowed to penetrate your wall of concentration. Outside of children and emergencies, that time is reserved for you and should be treated as if you’re punched in at work and on the clock. Friends and family should know not to interrupt you during these hours. If they don’t, you’ll either need to be more firm establishing your boundaries or you’ll need to find somewhere more productive to work where your time and efforts are more respected.
Bottom Line: Distractions happen, but we have a choice how we handle them.
Distractions are going to occur. They’re inevitable as a matter of fact. The key to your own success and happiness, however, is what you choose to do with distractions. You can either succumb to them or overcome them. The choice is all yours. It just takes some guidance and remarkable self-control to achieve.
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