Getting out your own way...
You're sitting at your desk, working on a project that's due soon. Your phone is next to you, and you can't help but wonder if you've gotten any new notifications since the last time you checked. Suddenly, your mind starts wandering and before you know it, you're checking your phone again.
Sound familiar? If so, you're not alone. In today's world of constant notifications and social media, it's harder than ever to stay focused on the task. But if you want to be successful in business, you must learn how to conquer distractions and focus on what matters most.
So what are the top three reasons people get distracted?
We now live in the "attention economy," where our attention is constantly being pulled in different directions by a never-ending stream of information and distractions.
As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to focus on your business when there are so many distractions around you. The internet, social media, and other forms of technology can make it difficult to stay on task.
Not only that, but our attention spans are decreasing at a rapid rate. One study found that the average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds in 2015! That's shorter than the attention span of a goldfish, which is believed to be nine seconds.
And this is not by accident. Big Tech has engineered their products to be addictive by design so they keep our attention on their platform and sell it to the highest bidder..
But we don't have to be victims of their design! There are ways we can minimize and overcome the distractions in our lives so we can focus on what matters most.
FOMO is an acronym for "fear of missing out". It is a psychological condition that causes people to feel anxious or uneasy when they are not participating in current events or activities. This can be especially harmful to business owners, as it can cause them to make hasty decisions based on fear of missing out rather than sound judgment.
There are a few telltale signs that you may be experiencing FOMO.
If you find yourself constantly checking social media or email, even when you're not expecting anything important, this may be a sign that you're trying to keep up with what others are doing instead of focusing on your own goals.
Feeling anxious or stressed when you're not participating in some activity or event can also be a sign that you're struggling with FOMO.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's important to take a step back and assess what is causing them.
Is there something that you're not doing that you feel like you should be?
Are you worried about missing out on an opportunity?
Once you identify the root cause of your FOMO, you can start to take steps to conquer it.
Shiny Object Syndrome is a condition that causes people to become easily distracted by what appear to be new and exciting things. This can be harmful to entrepreneurs, as it can cause them to abandon projects that may be important in favor of pursuing something new.
There are a few telltale signs that you may be suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome. If you find yourself constantly starting new projects but never finishing them, this may be a sign that you're getting distracted by new and exciting ideas. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of things you have to do can also be a sign that you're struggling to focus on what's truly important.
If you want to be successful in business, you need to learn how to focus. That means eliminating distractions and being able to laser-focus on your goals.
The good news is that it's not as difficult as you might think. Once you know how to do it, it can become second nature.
We use a technique called the "Focus Shield" method.
It has five parts:
As part of our setup, we're going to use time blocks to manage your focus.
The time-blocking method is a way to focus on one task at a time by breaking your day into blocks of time.
Start by creating a list of tasks, then determine the available time blocks you have during the week, and finally assign each task to a specific time block.
Batch similar tasks together and work on them in blocks of time. Set aside specific times to check social media or email, and stick to them.
Set aside specific times for "deep work". This is when you need to focus on a challenging task that requires all of your attention. Use the Pomodoro Technique to help you with this (set timer for 25 minutes, then take 5 minute break, repeat).
Note: You can use your "Get Focus" bonus audio here. It's conveniently just 25 minutes long. It also uses special audio sounds and frequencies to get you into a focused brain state. 😉
Block regular breaks into your day. Get up and walk around, get some fresh air or just take a few minutes relax.
Sometimes the best ideas come when you're not trying to think of them. If you're stuck on a problem, don't keep working on it. Take a break and let your mind wander. You might be surprised at what you come up with.
Now that you have your time blocks (including breaks), it's time to move on to part two...
You're ready to start one of your time blocks. Now what?
Make a list of all the things that could potentially distract you from achieving your goal. This could be anything from social media to email to phone calls.
Once you've identified the potential distractions, it's time to set up your environment for success.
Ready to start a time block?
First, identify your goal this block of time.
What is it that you want to achieve?
And although you've heard it a thousand times, you need to set a SMART goal for this time block.
It needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
The time block takes care of the "time-bound" but you need to make sure the rest of these criteria are met.
For example, a goal like "work on the project" is not specific enough. But "complete three tasks associated with the project" is much better.
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you sit down and work on your goal.
The key is to take things one step at a time. Don't try to do too much at once. Just focus on making progress, no matter how small. Use time-blocking to help you stay on track.
This is the most important part of the process. This is where you take a moment to celebrate your success. Pat yourself on the back for staying focused and achieving your goal.
This step is important because it helps to reinforce positive behavior. The more you celebrate your success, the more likely you are to repeat it in the future.
This is also the part where you assess your progress and adjust your goals for the future. If you didn't quite reach your goal, don't beat yourself up. Just set a new goal and try again next time.
So there you have it!
The "Focus Shield" method is a great way to stay focused on what's important. By following these five steps, you can train your mind to eliminate distractions and laser-focus on your goals. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed or distracted, just remember to use your Focus Shield.
Tiny Habit recipe: After I get distracted while trying to focus, I will take one deep breath, let go of any frustration and then celebrate that I recovered my focus.
This Tiny Habit may seem small but it's quite powerful.
When you get distracted and then recover your focus, you are building your focus muscle.
The more you build your focus muscle, the better you will become at blocking out distractions and staying focused.
Start by adding this Tiny Habit to your week and see how it goes. Remember, even small changes can lead to big results.
No matter how you feel about your answer, pat yourself on the back for trying something new!
Remember that your ability to focus is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it will become.
To accelerate your ability to focus, start a mindfulness habit. It's one of the best things you can do for your focus muscle.