Stop Getting Distracted and Get Things Done

We could get things done and achieve our goals if we stopped getting distracted so easily.

It has been said that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

We know the things that we ought to do, but we don’t do them.

We know the things that we should not do, but we do them anyway.

What is going on?

My list of things to do and habits that I want to form grows daily, and I am eager to get things done.

I love nothing more than checking things off my “to do” list.

However, I often find myself distracted, and when the day is done, little is accomplished.

I must change that if I hope to ultimately be successful.

Here are four things that you can do to catapult yourself out of the world of distraction and get some things done:

  • discover your distractions
  • plan
  • implement the plan and clear out the clutter
  • be more self-aware

Stop getting distracted and get things done

Discover what distracts you

I once saw a commercial about how to quit smoking.

I had already given up the habit several years before, but the commercial was catchy.

The lessons have come in handy in many other objectives, so it has stayed with me.

One of those lessons was to journal as soon as you realize you are smoking or, in our case, being distracted.

Too often, the entire day has passed, and I honestly don’t remember what caused me to be so far behind.

If I journal throughout the day and honestly write what I was doing in twenty-minute intervals, I will probably discover what is slowing me down.

Maybe I chatted with my buddy for over forty minutes.

It only seemed like five because we were having fun, and the conversation was interesting.

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But nope, I lost forty minutes there.

Then I did a quick check on Facebook and was there for twenty minutes.

Now you can justify all distractions, but journaling aims to identify where your time is going.

Are you distracted by hunger pains when it gets close to lunch?

Are there sounds or other items that might distract you?

Is your boss distracting you by asking too many questions during the development of the project phase?

Again do not take time to analyze the situation.

You just need to discover what the distractions are so you can again become the productive employee or person you want to be.

Keep this going not only during your workday but throughout the evening, right until you go to bed.

Write what time you are going to bed and when you wake up.

Once you have a full week’s worth of journal entries recording what you were doing in twenty-minute intervals, you can analyze the data and devise a plan.

Make a plan

Now that you have some solid data to work with, sit down and think through what you are learning about yourself.

First, let me say the way to go for establishing the discipline to journal.

That was impressive.

But now, all that work will be worthless if you don’t make a plan.

It was all for nothing.

What was distracting you last week?

Meet with your friends after work or make appointments for them.

Avoid Facebook unless it is specifically job-related.

Have healthy snacks so that hunger does not distract you.

Ask your boss for a meeting to set up a schedule of when would be the most optimal time for him to receive project updates.

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At home, consider things you can do to make yourself more successful.

One example I had to implement is to put my phone in my home office, and then I will check it every hour or two.

When I kept the phone close, it distracted me from hanging out with my family.

Are there things that I can set up that will make me more productive tomorrow?

Do I have the right clothes?

Are they clean and ready for tomorrow?

I like to set up the coffeepot at night when I am still fully awake rather than fumble around trying to set it up in the morning.

Did you stay up late several times watching television or movies?

Did this seem to impact your ability to focus the next day?

Regardless of what you discover, set up a plan to limit the power of your distractions.

Put the plan into action and clear the clutter

Now that you have a plan.

Put it into action.

The plan does no good sitting next to your planner or in your planner if you will not take action.

Secondarily you can also look around and see what you can do about the larger environment.

I once read a report that showed that we spend the equivalent of 2 hours a day looking for things.

This can be files on your computer or your socks.

Regardless, putting away the clutter can make a huge difference in your ability to get things done.

Experiment and try new things to overcome distractions.

Don’t give up if something does not seem to work.

Keep trying new approaches.

Maybe your boss feels like she should be able to interrupt you at any point.

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You may need to find a different way to sell the idea of a plan to her.

Your friend may love to come and regale you with stories of the adventure of parenting and ignore your pleas for moments of no distractions.

Again sell it to him in a different way.

After you run this way for a couple of weeks, do the journaling exercise again and look for other distractions that might hold you back.

Know yourself

A critical step in this whole process is taking the time to know yourself.

I know people who function great and get things done while they watch a movie or listen to the radio.

Unfortunately, I am not that person.

I like to have several projects going at once, and as I run out of creative steam with one idea, I can switch to another.

Someone else would flounder with such a plan.

You must know the best version of yourself functions.

Know yourself and apply that knowledge as you create your plan to live distraction-free.

Living distraction-free or, more accurately, in our loud world, living less distracted will enable you to accomplish much more.

No longer will you wonder what happened to your day.

You will live healthier and more productive in all areas of your life.

Soon you will be the hero of your industry.

You can stop being distracted and get more done

Which of these tips are you most excited to implement in your everyday life?

Have any other tips you want to share?

You can leave them in the comment section below.

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