Mindful Millennials

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Distraction (LOOK THIS WAY)

Mark RaglandComment

"When it comes to our actions, disorder and distraction are death."

-Ryan Holiday

Being distracted has become a noticeable issue for me over the last few years. Especially when it comes to focusing during a long block of time to get work done. After a little while I often fall victim to distraction.

At work, I might find a reason to talk to a coworker, or I’ll look at my phone, or I’ll decide it’s time for a snack.

At home, my main distraction is social media, but online shopping and sports news are also a problem when I’m trying to get things done (for example, I just opened a new tab to look up a NCAA March Madness bracket).

Distraction is near and dear to my personal growth story because I get really frustrated if I didn't use my time well at the end of the day. As my goals form and evolve, I want to be taking actions that move me closer to my goals, and distractions often hinder me.

I’m more organized with my life and time now, but for a LONG time I was completely directionless and wasted a ton of time. The quote above is from Ryan Holiday in his book The Obstacle is the Way (highly recommend), and it really resonated with me because I have found disorder and distraction to be the death to my time and productivity.

If you don’t have order and goals in your life, bits and pieces of your time will be squandered away, adding up to a lot of time you could have been putting towards your goals.. There needs to be discipline to use your time well. I wish I naturally spent all of my time doing what I love or being productive, but the reality is that a lot of my time has gone to neutral tasks that don’t make me happy or more productive.

When it comes to work, it only makes sense to be productive and avoid distraction because you most likely have to be at your workplace for a certain amount of time, and you are literally wasting your time and your company’s time if you don’t use it well. Take breaks when needed but when it’s time to work, then work. So much of our time is spent at work, so it’s important to be productive at work so that you can enjoy your free time as much as possible. Your free time is where you get to do the things you love, so get stuff done at work so that you can maximize work and play.

Take responsibility for your time, if you want to use your time well then it’s up to you to make it happen. Start cultivating discipline and follow through with it.

Quick Tips For Avoiding Distraction When to be Be Productive

  1. Put your phone in another room

  2. Sign out of social media (it might make you think twice about logging back in)

  3. Put in headphones at work so you aren’t tempted to join every conversation that happens around you (if possible at your job)

  4. Minimize email window/turn on Do Not Disturb on your phone

Ultimately, avoiding distraction comes down to two things. Having discipline and removing the distraction.

We have so much potential as individuals, and it’s often wasted because we don’t set big enough goals, or we get distracted too much to put the effort in to make a difference. There are a lot of distractions in the world, I know. It’s easier to coast through life than it is to be intentional with your time, but if you really want to reach your potential as a person, then you have to use your time well. Making an impact is not easy, you have to put in the work.

Mark

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Credit to NBC for the photo from The Office 

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