Have you ever closed down your email box on an evening only to find a half written reply you started earlier that day? You totally forgotten about it because you were distracted by something else, that took you to a different place!
The reality is that we have so much to do and it’s very easy for us to get distracted. Our attention is splattered; we lose focus and become too thinly spread over a wide surface area of things to do.
Where exactly does your Attention go?
Here are four ways we get distracted.
1. Everything is URGENT – In his book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey describes the difference between two main factors that define an activity as IMPORTANT and URGENT.
URGENT – These actions and activities are often bright, shiny, attention grabbing objects that are in your face! They jump up and down and say ‘Hey! Look I’m here! Do me NOW!’ They might be things that you enjoy doing such as any excuse to make a coffee, checking the Internet or going Facebook. It might be checking your emails and getting sucked in to responding to each one, instead of what you’d planned to do that morning.
IMPORTANT – is all about your Intention – Actions and activities that move you towards your goals and priorities.
Here’s the thing…Urgent doesn’t necessarily mean Important.
Urgent grabs your attention because it’s louder and what’s important can become drowned out by the noise.
Defining these can really help you to recognise when you’re becoming distracted. You can re-focus your attention onto what’s important.
2. Over complicating stuff – It’s easy to over complicate something and get sucked into too much detail because of panic or you perceive the thing to be such a huge deal. We can get caught up in the drama.
A few Years ago, I started creating a tele-seminar: “Are You in Business or in Busy-ness? Four Ways to Get Your Life Back on Purpose.” I unconsciously got sucked into the detail and wasted time creating some beautifully visual mind maps for the call. It was an audio presentation and no one was going to see them! Because it was a big deal, I made it so big in my head that I added more Busy-ness to it than I needed to.
3. Avoiding things - Are you inventing things to do to AVOID what’s important?
I used to be the Master of avoidance in my life. Rather than address an unhealthy relationship with my partner, I focused on traveling, rescuing more cats, studying for a Masters Degree and becoming a School Governor for our local Primary School in the village where we lived! I was distracting myself from the real issue: the relationship. I added more stuff to my life to keep me busy. None of these activities would ‘fix’ the relationship. They just distracted me.
4. Lack of clarity and direction – When you become distracted your attention scatters because you lose focus of your Intention. You take unconscious action (or inaction) because you become lost and confused. You lose control and feel that everything is imposed upon you. You settle and survive and accept things as they are. You stay stuck.
What’s distracting you?