I was a very “distractible” kid. It was a time when the term ADD was almost non-existent, but I can guarantee it would have been used on me.
I was also using distractions well into my thirties so my brain was basically running on a tank that was about half full.
It took me a very long time to meet goals in my career, enter into a solid relationship, and find a great community. One of the main reasons it took me so long to achieve my aspirations was that I was getting caught up in distractions.
I’m sure you have your list of distractions that slow you down and nearly stop you in your tracks from getting what you most want in life.
Are you engaging too much in any of these things:
- TV Shows
- Video Games
- Social Media
Until my mid-thirties, I watched movies everyday and eventually found social media. I probably spent two – three hours a day distracted in these areas.
I only call these distractions because they were slowing me down and getting in the way of what was most important to me.
After meeting a couple of highly influential mentors and studying about efficiency and inspiration, I cracked the code on distractibility. Now, I only watch movies on rare occasions for entertainment, and I use social media consciously to connect to other people in a time-limited way.
Really, the biggest difference is that these activities are no longer out of habit and impulse, and I’m finally in charge of how I spend my time.
My two-to-three hours of distraction are essentially non-existent.
Think about all the hours of distractions that you could put into getting what you want. If you are anything like I was, your hours of distraction are probably somewhere in the range of 15 – 30 hours a week.
Take a moment to be honest with yourself to add them up. I’m referring to all the minutes and hours when you don’t need time to relax, but you take time off anyway out of habit.
What was your number?
If it was 15 hours a week that’s nearly 800 hours a year. If it was 30 hours a week that’s almost 1600 hours a year! That was me not that long ago.
Imagine you were able to put those 1600 hours toward even one goal such as a better relationship or a career aspiration the likelihood of achieving it would be so much higher.
So why do so many people spend so much time with distractions?
It’s quite simple. When you stop filling your time with activities that most inspire you, you will fill your time with less inspirational activities that are based on short-term gratifying behaviors.
The thing that most inspires you such as finding a partner, having a better marriage, contributing in a specific way to the world, purchasing a home, etc. are long-term gratifying projects.
The only way to achieve them is by taking the long view, which means getting some instant rewards, but mostly receiving long-term gains over time.
When you lose sight of what inspires you in the day, you will go after instant gratification in the form of pleasure, simply, because you feel less inspired in that moment and you want to feel better.
As you focus more and more on pleasure seeking behaviors they “distract” you from what most inspires you and create pathways in the brain that are difficult to overcome.
However, there’s a way out of distractibility so you can reclaim those 800 – 1600 lost hours a year.
Here’s my 7 Steps to Eradicate Distractibility and Attain Your Desires:
- Get absolutely clear on what’s most important to you right now in your life. Start with one thing. Is it your career, family, spirituality, etc.?
- Set a clear, reasonable and attainable goal in that area.
- Create a written overview that describes how to get you to that goal within a set time frame.
- At the beginning of each week, write a plan of all the actions you need to take that week to get closer to that goal.
- At the beginning of each day, write a list of the 5 – 7 most effective actions for attaining your long-term vision. Make sure the list is under ten items or you won’t finish it.
- Take a couple short breaks that are fifteen minutes or less throughout the day where you do whatever you want.
- Make certain you finish your task list before indulging in any distractions. If you find yourself indulging in distractions before finishing your task list, close your eyes and get in touch with what’s most important to you and how it’s inspirational to you. Once you’ve fully seen yourself reaching that goal in your visualization you will have the inspiration to get back to the tasks for that day.
These are the seven steps that I used to overcome distraction. Just keep remembering you are always capable of reaching greater heights in your life. If you want to reach that next level you simply have to focus your energy on what’s most important to you and you will achieve it.