Managing digital distractions
“Focus and simplicity...once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Distractions happen. They get in the way by competing for our attention throughout the day, whether we are hard at work or hard at play. (I just got distracted for five minutes after writing those first two lines). It can happen so easily. Between texts, emails and social media, our phone alone has the ability to derail any progress we are making whether we are handling responsibilities while at work or at home. In the pandemic era many of us complete work at home. No matter where we are while we are getting our work done, our mobile devices follow us wherever we go.
Eliminating digital distractions is my new priority for crossing items off my to-do list more effectively and efficiently. I have had difficulties with being able to maintain my focus for extended periods of time since I was in elementary school. ADHD was not a thing back then, but I would have fit the description according to the DSM-V. Staring off into space was one of my trademarks, while falling out of my chair was one of my gimmicks. I still feel some of that anxious irritability and excited nervous energy at times. I have become more aware of how I can harness that energy and channel it into my work instead of wasting time scratching every digital itch that pops up on my phone.
I have had my phone in silent mode from 11pm-8am for the past few years. It has provided me with an uninterrupted sleep and morning routine. My new approach is to put my phone on silent during the day when I need to focus on getting work done, like this blog. I know those texts and emails can wait another hour or two. I don't plan on doing it for extended periods. I will start with one hour blocks of time and adjust accordingly. The idea is to create a habit of blocking out time for tasks that require my undivided attention. I can do that for responding to important notifications too.
Digital media is only one of the culprits that competes for our precious time and attention throughout the day. What are some of the distractions that can throw you off your routine and leave your scrambling to finish things at the last minute? What are some ways you may be able to avoid those distractions to be more productive and get more done at home and work? The distractions will always be there. It's really a matter of properly managing them, indulging in them or politely swatting them away to create more time in our day.