5 Ways To Fight Distractions & Get Stuff Done

by Melissa Clark
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life

I slip into an unmade bed. Something else I didnt accomplish, I mutter to myself. Sure, I was busy all day. Its not like my day was filled with mani-pedis and trips to the mall. No, I didnt even make time to eat breakfast or work outtwo of my daily goals.

I feel as if my life is a pinball machine and Im the pinball. Im always ping-ponging around. The moment my alarm rings, I hit the ground and immediately put out one fire after the other, powered by caffeine and adrenaline. Yet, I dont actually get the important things done in the day, including taking care of myself.

Im depleted. Drained. Exhausted.

And I have to do all again tomorrow? Or do I?

Challenge the Status Quo

If youre like most individuals, you may grapple with how to shoo away daily distractions in order to get your stuff done. In fact, according to Psychology Today, 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.This means one-fifth of people struggle to get their stuff done.

What about you? Whats your daily task you put off? Is it a big report, preparing for a presentation, or even small, necessary things like getting to the grocery store?

Are you tired of avoiding tasks? Are you weary of living in a chaotic cycle where circumstances dictate your behaviors and leave you exhausted and disappointed in yourself?

I was.

I was tired of living the same day over and over again, so I compiled a list that has helped me and the hundreds of clients I counsel.

5 Ways to Fight Distractions and Get Stuff Done:
  1. Get to bed earlier.

Get the recommended 79 hours of sleep. Youre right: this is super basic. And yet, 40 percent of individuals report getting fewer than seven hours of sleep (Gallup). Missing out on sleep equates to missing out on the vital concentration and focus you need to accomplish tasks. Staying up too late increases the likelihood of becoming easily distracted and impairing your judgment.

This week, take notice if a lack of sleep is a culprit toward increased distractions. Then start with a small goal, like getting to bed fifteen minutes earlier. Increase that amount until youve met your targeted amount of sleep.

  1. Identify the one thing you want or need to focus on.

Contrary to modern belief, your brain cant multitask. You may brag about being the best multitasker around, but your brain is actually shifting gears continuously. Have you ever driven a manual car? Going from one gear to the next causes exhaustion and damages the car.

Instead of grinding your gears and accomplishing little, find the one thing you want or need to get done. Commit to accomplishing that one thing. If you need to disconnect from the internet, put your phone away or hop off social media for the necessary time. Fix your eyes on that one thing. This will help you create a habit of laser-like focus. What you look at or focus on becomes a beacon for your brain, thereby becoming the primary mission for your brain so you able to deal with any distractions at work that may come across your path.

  1. Write down the top three things you need to do the night before.

If you went to Vegas to gamble and I directed you to a table that paid out 95 percent of the time, I bet (pun intended) youd hang out there for the weekend. Writing your goals down is like that. You are 95 percent more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. Telling a friend intensifies those odds.

I recommend getting these tasks done first, if possible. Youll feel more confident and determined because youve already achieved the most important things for your day. You wont be using energy in procrastinating, which will provide even more energy to advance in your daily tasks.

  1. Identify the deeper issue by asking yourself a few questions:

Is this a pattern? If it is, identify the patterns triggers.

Am I afraid of failing? Or is this something I need help with or more training and education? When you identify the cause of your behavior, you advance a major step forward in tackling the problem.

Am I setting unrealistic expectations for myself? We tend to overestimate what we can get done in a day but underestimate what can be done in the moment. Challenge yourself to set small, realistic goals.

5. Find times to recalibrate your day.

For instance, use key times like noon, 3 p.m., or 6 p.m. to recenter yourself. Set your phones alarm to go off a few times a day as a reminder. This is a great way to start a new habit. Sometimes, we become habituated to distractions, which makes it easier to become distracted. Setting an alarm to remind you to get back on task will cue your brain to create a new habit of staying focused.

Distractions will happen. True confession: I just opened up Chrome to do a little online shopping. Yes, I got distracted. Despite knowing I have a deadline and things to do, my mind wanted a break. Breaks are actually a good thingas long as theyre accompanied with a few parameters. You may want to set a timer to prompt you to return to your project.

Give yourself permission to do the things you like, from online shopping to social media to chatting with a friend. Schedule time to do the things you love. When you maneuver through the daily distractions and get your stuff done, youll find that you actually have more time to do what you love.

Be honest with yourself. Be kind. Set realistic expectations. Dont be afraid to mix things up and try things a new way. Fewer distractions means getting more done, and getting more done may mean more time to do the things you likeand who wouldnt want that?


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