As I was writing this week's Sunday Sunshine... My son Face-timed me. An email popped up from a client to reschedule. I got called to the pantry for the bag of all-natural truffle popcorn. Daily interruptions distract you, take away your focus, and create havoc in your well-planned day. You judge yourself for not being in control of them. You feel sabotaged, discouraged, regretful. You know it's bad when those thoughts spiral like a tantrum. Distractions have a cost. Time. Energy. They delay or prevent you from achieving your highest potential. You blame distractions for your lack of focus or for your being stuck. Distractions are the detours in our day. U-turns put you back on track. Instead of a detour taking you off of your game, why not consider a distraction as a green light to a U-turn? With a thought and being open to what's possible for you, you get to decide to detour or take a U-turn. I read about this concept in the Artist’s Way, and I’m putting a twist on it. The speed with which you make a U-turn determines the speed with which you reset, renew, and get back to what's important to you. Awareness Taking back your power from distraction starts by becoming aware.
Make a list of what distracts you; all of the things that get in your way.
Look for the triggers. The messy disorganized mind that's full of thoughts is a distraction that can be caused by stress, over-work, indecision.
Search for the bad habits and patterns that make distraction ‘easy’.
Answering emails as soon as they hit the inbox as if it’s an emergency is huge a distraction. Thinking about how busy you are because of all of the emails adds to the distraction. Busy is a negative thought to recognize. Turning the thought of 'I'm so busy' into a more powerful one –‘I’m in demand’-- will have you course correcting back to what’s important. That's a U-turn. That empowered thought feels so much better than the thought of you being so busy. I wrote more about a re-framing the mindset of busy here. Park-it What are your three priorities for the day? With that as your guide, most every distraction can then be parked. Rank your list of detours. Park anything that isn’t relevant to your three priorities. Consider calendaring your park-it list. Reserving time on the calendar to get to your distractions will allow you to quickly U-turn back to what's important. Get Help When you are most distracted, asking for help, even if you don’t feel like it, will get you needed support, and the space to U-turn back on course. Let go of the ‘I need to do this myself’ or ‘Only I can do this’. Ego never rewards you. Is is easy...no. Is it hard...yes. Is it worth it...of course. Creative U-Turns A creative U-turn is a commitment to yourself and the possibilities for your most extraordinary life. You have the choice to accept the detour or take a U-turn. It’s an active choice to ‘keep calm and carry on’ to not fall into distraction. I’m not saying it’s possible to eliminate every distraction, but if you can catch yourself by becoming aware, you can choose to park-it and take that U-turn. My Distraction Audit When I audited my daily distractions, I saw my most distracted time of the day was 2pm. This ‘Bring More Joy’ notification hits my phone and my computer each day at 2pm because that’s when I’m most prone to distraction and heading to the pantry. This visualization prompt is a reminder of what I want most. A reminder to reset, refocus and renew my commitment to myself and my priorities.