Do you have trouble finishing what you start? Are you always moving on to the next big thing? Do things (or people) constantly vie for your attention? Are you constantly feeling behind?
These things are very common and often the result of interruptions and distractions in your world. I think the mistake that we make is in trying too hard to stay focused. We think that if we can eliminate these distractions and just stay focused on one thing that we can finally make our dreams come true. We can finally get the job done. Right?
But the thing is…distractions are not the problem. The problem is how we deal with those distractions.
And, what I’ve found is that the harder I fight against them, the less I get done. The more frustrated I get. The more scattered I feel in every aspect of my life. Not just when it comes to what I’m trying to focus on, but when it comes to everything in life.
So, I’ve developed a method I like to call the IDEA method.
What does this mean? Well, it means that interruptions are a part of life. We all set great intentions. We all have goals that need to be accomplished. And…we are all human. Life is happening all around us all the time and let’s face it, most things are outside of our control.
I think that’s what it really comes down to. We want to control ourselves and our circumstances, but very often things will happen that lead us off course.
For instance, as a writer, I would love to be able to sit down and write my latest book for about an hour. But, no sooner than I sit down to write, I’ll get at least one phone call. Okay, no problem. I’ll just turn off the ringer.
Well then, what happens when the doorbell rings and its UPS with a package? It can wait. Or, most likely…one of my kids will have an “urgent” issue like telling me that they are bored or want to go somewhere or need something to eat right this very minute while I’m deep inside the mind of my characters.
Or, what if you’re recording a video for your business. It never fails that no matter what time I schedule those videos that my neighbor will start cutting his grass. Or, a yard crew will start chopping down branches. Or, the garbage truck will compact trash right outside my window. Or, maybe a neighbor’s dog will have a barking fit.
Chances are that anything and everything will seem to happen when we are trying our best to make progress.
But, the thing is, these things are happening around us all the time. We just don’t notice them as much until we are trying to focus and get things done. We don’t notice them until we try to be good and productive and set intentions.
And since these things are beyond our control (at least most of them are anyway) there is really no way around them. So, what can we do?
We can accept the interruptions. We can expect them. And we can just move forward anyway.
Life will happen and the only thing that we can ever truly control are our own actions and our reaction to other people’s actions. So, you can turn off that ringer. Put on headphones. Set a timer and tell those kids not to bother you until the timer rings. Then, you can work your hardest to meet your goals.
And, if you still get interrupted…that’s okay. Everything is alright. You just get back on track as soon as you can and keep going.
You definitely don’t use it as an excuse for not getting work done. You definitely don’t stop what you’re doing and just give up for the day. And you definitely don’t wait to work until you can be uninterrupted because chances are…more interruptions are on their way.
Keep this in mind the next time you find that distractions are creeping their way into your life. Let me know how it works for you.