If you want a way of immediately diminishing the impact of distractions (and interruptions), then take close note of the ideas in this article.  You’ll learn a practice that you and others in your organization can implement starting today. It doesn’t take any special skills or tools or preparation.  It does, however, take building a new habit.  And, when others in your company, department, or school are also building this new habit, you can all encourage one another, too.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you are working away on

  • grading papers,
  • writing a report,
  • preparing an agenda for an upcoming meeting,
  • working on a presentation,
  • finishing up your taxes, or
  • any other task that is part of your responsibility

…and someone comes into your office, or your phone rings and you pick it up, or you feel overwhelmingly compelled to check your email.

Before you put one tiny little portion of your brain power and focus into the distraction, write down exactly and precisely what your very next action was going to be - if you hadn’t been distracted.

  • Maybe it was to write a comment of encouragement on the student paper.
  • Maybe it was to call John to ask if he would proofread your report.
  • Maybe it was verifying the order of the agenda with your boss.
  • Maybe it was changing the header in your PowerPoint so that it showed the correct date on the slide.
  • Maybe it was making sure you had included the deduction for your energy-efficient windows in your taxes.

Folks, I promise you, if you will write down your very next action before you allow yourself (yes, I said, ALLOW YOURSELF) to be distracted, you will find that the distraction’s impact is significantly lessened.  So, get your post-it(r) notes handy, your little notepads ‘at the ready,’ or whatever other way you like to remind yourself - and then whenever you are distracted by yourself or someone else, FIRST write down whatever you were going to do next - and then go right ahead and take care of the distraction.

GAP Distractions And for more tips and strategies to tackle distractions you will want to access 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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