Distracted motherIf distractions are driving you nuts - and deterring you from getting your work done, let me offer this suggestion.  Eliminate as many of your distractors as you can.  Now, this may seem like a “no-kidding” sort of tip, but from listening to friends, family, colleagues, and other professionals around the globe, I know it bears a mention - and should be the first ‘best practice’ you choose to implement, long before looking for the “magic answer.”

First, make a list of all the things that distract you.  Your list could include particular sounds, movements, people, thoughts, or most anything else.  Note that each person is unique in terms of what is distracting.

Next, go back through the list of distractors that you wrote down on your list - and add more as you think of them. Be as clear as possible about exactly what it is that distracts you and then start making choices that will eliminate or at least minimize these distractors.

For example:

  1. If a ringing phone distracts you, turn off the ringer - regardless of whether it’s your office, home, or cell phone.
  2. If hearing the ding of your email coming in is distracting (duh), turn off the sound.

  3. If hearing others’ voices distracts you, shut a door, put in ear buds, ask the people to take their conversations elsewhere, get a white noise machine, or find somewhere else to work part of the time.
  4. If having piles of crap, I mean valuable things, all over your office is distracting (and it is), then choose at least one pile and sort it, toss it, or put it in a shredder.

  5. If your brain keeps running through all sorts of tasks and commitments that you keep worrying that you will forget, then get out your planner, a pad, or some other physical location and dump out your brain so that it’s capture somewhere rather than just spinning around in your head.  All you have to do is Google the words “David Allen and psychic RAM” and see what you will find if you need more support for getting your head emptied out. It’s critically important to deal with the things you’ve written down in a timely fashion, as well.

What else do you need to do something about? More is under your control than you may have acknowledged.

And for more strategies to deal with distractions you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® for Dealing with and Deflecting Distractions part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed so that so that you can accomplish your goals more smoothly, i.e., peacefully, productively, and predictably.

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