We live in a world full of distractions. And the funny thing about this is that most of the time we don’t even realize this. Yet, we constantly check our cell phones, social media accounts, the news because for some reason it is incredibly important to know exactly what is happening on the other side of the globe. Sometimes we know precisely what is the current situation of the countries we cannot even point out on the map (Google Maps included). But who cares…someone might say… Well, apparently not a lot of people.
Did you know that Internet Addiction Disorder is actually a real thing? And that it’s a subset of technology addiction in general? I must be an old-fashioned girl because technology surely does not take over my life. Probably because I managed to set healthy boundaries. The first thing I did was to get rid of my tv 10 years ago. And you know what? I didn’t regret it even for a second. Of course, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t have my favorite TV shows, movies or documentaries because actually, I have. Well, I’m not going to lie, I’ve got my guilty pleasure and it’s called Netflix. I know what are you thinking right now. That I live in denial. But before you judge me, let me clear a couple of things up. First of all, it’s not an addiction but a healthy obsession. Second, I have a personal rule about this and I stick to it: First duty, then pleasure. So, yes I watch Netflix but only on the weekends. Yes, Netflix on the weekends!! But for me, it’s a mindful relaxation, the sweetness of doing nothing, il dolce far niente. Always prepared, well-planned and scheduled! You should try it!
It’s ok to distract sometimes…
What I’m trying to say is that distractions aren’t always bad. When correctly manage they can actually benefit our productivity, increase motivation, and boost creativity. For example, if you are studying for an important exam, you’re writing your dissertation or you are self-employed there is a danger of being overworked, isolated, burned out or stress out. Not to mention that motivation is never constant and there is no such thing as 100% productivity. People aren’t robots. Besides, there is no such thing as a working perpetual motion machine. This idea exists only in our imagination. So, if there is no machine that can do work indefinitely without an energy source because it would be a violation of the Law of thermodynamics how can a human being, a creature of nature do that work? It just doesn’t have any sense. At least not for me. So, correct me if I am wrong but I think that it’s all based on a healthy and balanced lifestyle. With this in mind, we can finally admit with a clear conscience that there is a time to work and time to rest. Besides in a dual world we live in, one does not exist without the other. Furthermore, these two ideas are neither incompatible nor contradictory, but complementary. So by that rationale, we need to create healthy habits and set our goal structure to be able to boost our productivity and embrace procrastination. Yes, I really think that improving focus comes along with using distractions as useful tools especially in terms of looking for inspiration for your creative work. Because, in my opinion, every work can be creative to a certain extent. It depends on how you chose to see it. Everything we do or experience can be used as an important tool for self-development and personal growth. Everything depends on your attitude.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
– Maya Angelou
Trust me, I know exactly what I am talking about. I’m having a hard time right now but I chose mindfully to use it to my advantage. I’m really going to grow as a person during this period. Besides
Every great change is preceded by chaos
Just like Deepak Chopra said.
So, instead of fighting with distractions that happen and will happen we will try to manage them and use them to our advantage. Because
So, let’s get to it!
8 simple ways to stay focused in a distracted world:
1.Establish a daily routine
Solid daily routine prevents procrastination and missed timelines. It sounds cliché to say that, I know. But as tired as you may be of hearing it, and as silly as it might sound, it’s true. Just try it. Create your highly personalized healthy daily routine and some good habits (you need them to achieve your GOALS!) that will work for you and live by them every single day. And I mean every single day! If you need some inspiration just read my two posts about Life-changing healthy morning rituals and Owning your morning. I’m sure it will help you to create your own healthy morning routine and set a positive mood for the rest of the day!
2. Practice mindfulness
Being mindful means this particular use of attention and awareness on purpose with the goal of experiencing the authenticity of the present moment.
During your daily routine try to put all your focus on a particular activity you’re engaging yourself in. Try to redirect your attention to one single thing, forget about multitasking for one moment and put complete attention to one, particular activity. Make the best of every single experience you have. I write about bringing mindfulness into daily life (here) and about mindfulness as a journey (here)
- Bring mindfulness into your daily life
- Work on self-awareness and self-consciousness
- Practice Self-reflection through journaling
3. Manage distractions
- Let yourself get distracted (distractions happen with a cause, for example, you may need some rest)
- Distractions can be a source of inspiration, creativity, motivation and many other good things
- Overcome procrastination by embracing it (see above)
- Identify your time wasters and try to avoid them if you need to stay focused on your tasks (get back to them in your free time)
- Be more active
4. Plan & Prioritize
Have you ever heard that the day begins the night before? Gosh, I swear it’s true. Consistent scheduling keeps me sane for many reasons. First of all, it helps me to avoid anxiety because I’m not worried about forgetting things anymore. I just put all that stuff on my calendar and the day before I just look at it and I know what needs to be done the next day. I swear scheduling changed my life! I plan everything I need to do and then I prioritize my tasks (here you can read about the importance of prioritizing your plans, tasks, and work) This is how you can do it:
- Plan – set your goal structure
- Organize – Schedule (schedule means getting things done)
- Prioritize – Do the hardest or the most important task first (puts all that stuff on my calendar and reminds me the day before)
P.S. forget about multitasking and learn about single-tasking! Concentrate on one thing and learn to do it well!
5. Adopt a Holistic Approach
Think about the big picture. Don’t let one thing that is going wrong to ruin the whole experience. Always try to look at things from a different perspective. Admit it to yourself that you can be wrong. So google it, talk to your friend or family member, listen to podcasts, watch ted talks, in a word, do your research!
- Look for accurate and relevant information
- Facts not assumptions
- Learn to listen actively
- Keep an open mind and think outside the box
6. Cultivate Mindful Relaxation
I’m not going to lie, this is my favorite step. I really think that relaxation is as much important as productivity. Because to be able to work and study efficiently you need to learn how to relax and recharge your batteries. Otherwise, you will easily become overworked, overwhelmed and stressed. So if you want to be productive, motivated and creative learn how to rest and relax properly. Learn about mindful relaxation and start cultivating dolce far niente (experience the sweetness of doing nothing) So:
- Embrace a mindful relaxation
- Let yourself experience the sweetness of doing nothing (enjoy your coffee, sunshine, a delicious meal, a mindful walk or a conversation with your friend)
- Recharge your batteries
- Keep a positive vibe
- Create a healthy balance between Productivity & Relaxation
- Take a tech break (at least one hour before going to bed)
7. Ground yourself using your 5 senses
Using our 5 senses is also one of the mindfulness practice techniques. And it’s incredibly helpful and efficient in grounding yourself, living in the present moment and keeping you sane and relevant with all the things you do. How you can do it? Well, it’s quite easy. Stop exactly where you are, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself these questions:
- What I can hear?
- What are the things I can see?
- What do I smell?
- What are the two things I can feel?
- What is at least one thing I can taste?
Use your answers as a source of inspiration, motivation and creative work!
8. Listen to your gut
Don’t know how to do that? Well, I will tell you a secret; it’s easier than you think. You just need to reconnect with your intuition, your 6th sense. You can do it using mindful practices. Just close your eyes, take a couple of deep, slow breaths, relax and connect with your higher self. What is your inner voice telling you? How do you feel? Now take a pen, a piece of paper and write. Write your thoughts down. Don’t overanalyze your inner voice, just write down everything it tells you and then read it out loud and see how it sounds. It makes sense, doesn’t it? The funny thing is that all the answers to our questions we can find inside ourselves. So, if you don’t know the right path to take you just have to be very quiet and listen for that little voice inside that tells you what to do. And it will tell you the truth about yourself ALWAYS!
- ALWAYS listen to your body!
- Work on your relationship with yourself
- Learn how to connect with your higher self through mindfulness techniques
- Trust your intuition
Acknowledge your accomplishments ALWAYS!!
And manage your distractions like a BOSS!