Distractions, Meet Intention

Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined goals. – Paul J. Miller

“Predetermined” is the the essential behavior that is key. I have on average over the last 7 days where I picked up my phone no less than 71 times per day on average. I get 265 notifications on average per day that call for my attention. Distractions are rampant these days. And, that’s just my phone. At the point of allowing that distraction to get the best of me, studies say it takes me 29 minutes to even get close again to my optimal productivity I had prior to the distraction.

This is all I can say: 😑 Was that text or notification really that worth it? NO.

The struggle is real. Very real. Distractions worst enemy however is the habit of intention. What if you had the super power to bring a crystal ball to life and find the truth about your life as it plays out each day before it did? What if you had this crystal ball and you could see before it happened how many times a day you would be distracted or taken off the track? Would you want to know that? I think we would.

You do have a crystal ball. Maybe not in the concrete sense of the object as you know it, in your hands, but you do have one. It’s called intention. In some degree it’s a lost art because we’ve let our gadgets tell us what we’re going to do moment to moment. It’s a skill you have to feed and sharpen daily. Our distractions are not going to die off, they’re only going to increase. Cultivating mindfulness is one of society’s solutions to combat our terrible habits of falling into distractions. That’s just one skill you can build to bring the balance back. But I think it’s simpler than that.

I think it can start with a pause before we start and even get out of bed. Before we even let our feet hit the floor. One or two questions and some intentional reflection.

What is the ultimate habit you can practice today to set you up to be your best today? Followed by a second question: Where do you need this habit to be placed so distraction will have the least amount of space to take you off track from being your best?

Listening to your inner monologue, really paying attention to what it directs us to do. Intuition will rule and you’ll know. Then you have to take act on it instead of ignore it. Listen to intuition tell you about yesterday’s distractions and today’s calendar invites. Listen to intuition tell you when it thinks you need to turn on “do not disturb” or take a break away so you can indulge your distraction in a planned/controlled way and then honor it by actually doing it.

Give those distraction free zones equal importance as anything that lands on your calendar. For me it can be just 25 minute sprints where “do not disturb” is turned on, I’m completely in the task at hand, and then a 5 minute break to check in. Rinse and repeat. Some of those distraction free times I’ll just walk around for 5 minutes after that first 25, because I know I need to get back to the task. If I even pick up that phone or turn “do not disturb” off, my 5 minutes will become 30 minutes.

Distractions are only a problem when we let it get in the way of our best life’s work. Only when they impact the quality and quantity of work/life you want to perform. I get it, that distraction to just pick up the phone when you feel or hear it buzz is so attractive and habitual now. We have to ween ourselves off before it becomes to late and we miss life’s best offerings.

Hope your day is as distraction free and intentional. I hope maybe I got you thinking about your own distractions and how you can manage/own them versus them managing/owning you. We can feel compacted and oppressed by our distractions through out the day, but only when we fail to have a plan to make sure they have less of an opportunity to do so.

Have a great day!

✌🏻 Shawn

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