I’ll admit that when I am overwhelmed in my mind that I am very easily distracted. It’s a frustrating fact that I’ve realized (which is probably half the battle), and that I’m working on improving so that I can not only be more productive but also stay on task to meet the goals I’ve set for myself.
Because it’s SO easy to get pulled away from our goals. So…Easy…
Did you know that January 19th is National Quitters Day? By this day it’s been found that many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions/goals. Crazy, right? But at the same time, probably pretty accurate.
At the local gym, the rest of us regulars always prepared for the influx of new members in classes in January, but we all knew that by the end of Jan/early Feb that things would be back to about normal (with a few new people that stuck with us – yay!).
So it’s not an uncommon thing for people to let those resolutions slide and slip back to where they were before.
But what I’ve found in my case, is that when I remove the big distractions, I’m able to focus better and stick to what I need to do to reach my goals.
Whether my goal is to get my exercise in, eat better, make a new product for my business, create my whole plan for social media/blogging for the month, or keep a clean home. Distractions take me away from all of them and distractions are probably pulling your focus away from the things you want to accomplish as well.
4 Things That May Be Distracting Your From Your Goals
1. Overscheduling yourself (or your family)
Activities, get togethers, events, volunteering, etc. are all awesome things….to a point. The problem comes in when you are so busy that you no longer have time in the evening to focus on that business you’re trying to get started and off the ground. Or when you are so exhausted from running your kids to multiple activities every evening that you have no time or energy left to exercise or make a healthy meal for dinner. Sure this happens from time to time for everyone. But when it becomes the norm (weekly, or multiple times per week), it may be time to take a step back.
Start by making a list of activities for each family member. Then go through that list and evaluate which ones: 1) truly bring you joy to do and 2) are filling you up vs. draining you. I know as I have gone through life, I have reflected on things like this and realized that I was still doing something because I thought I should or because I thought I loved it when it turns out, I really didn’t. Even if you used to enjoy something a lot, it doesn’t mean you always will. Ask your kids as well if they still are loving the things they are doing or if they want to take a break for a bit.
Less time running around or time spent organizing things for events/activities means that you have more time to put towards your goals (whatever they are!) and to spend together as a family.
2. Keeping things that hold you back from your goals
The biggest goal offender this one hits is for wanting to eat better. This is, of course, a very common New Years Resolution, or really, any time of the year goal. We all know we should eat well, but it takes work and commitment to stick to it.
But what happens when you are trying to eat well and every time you open the freezer you see a container of ice cream. Or find a big bag of leftover Christmas chocolate in your cabinet. If your goal was to eat better and eat less sugar, having things like this in the home will be a huge distraction to your goals. If it’s not in your house, it’s not easy to eat it.
The same concept applies if you want to stop smoking or drinking alcohol. Having these things in your home will make it 100 times harder to resist.
Do yourself a favor and clean out temptations from your home that don’t align with your goals. Donate food, throw things away, give them to a friend. Whatever you need to do to start fresh in your home and remove those distractions.
3. Simplify your home
Clutter in our homes is so distracting for multiple reasons. One main reason for me is the mental feeling I get in a cluttered space. Not everyone feels like this, but it may be something you don’t even realize is affecting you until you change it.
When I am at my desk and I have piles of things to file, papers to go through, notebooks everywhere, and office supplies scattered about, I have the hardest time getting to work. Even if I have a plan and I’m sitting with my laptop ready, the visual distraction of the messy desk makes it really hard for me to focus. In contrast, when my desk is clear with just my laptop, pen holder, plant, and desk organizer, I feel at ease and have a much easier time getting started with my work.
But another reason clutter is distracting is because we often attach guilt to it. We may be thinking about working on a business project or working out, but we see the state of our home and feel guilty doing something like that when we should be cleaning up instead. But then the thought of cleaning it all and going through the piles is so overwhelming that we decide to plop on the couch instead and distract ourselves with the tv or our phone (see #4).
Since we started decluttering our home, one thing I’ve loved is how picked up and visually clutter free it is most of the time. And if it is a bit messy, it takes a very short time to quickly set it back in order again. Less stuff = less mess = less stress = more time. (And I’ll also add that less stress = better health, which can also = weight loss & more energy.)
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4. Mindless activities
I talked about this a bit in my post last week about Eliminating ‘I Don’t Have Time’ From Your Wellness Vocabulary. Mindless activities have a way of stealing our time and our mental energy.
And while common mindless activities come in the form of television, mobile phones, and video games, it can also come in the form of “googling something real quick” when you should be working on a project, or falling down a YouTube rabbit hole when you went to watch a quick video on something.
The distraction here is REAL and it’s a huge one.
If you add up the time you spend doing these types of activities in a day/week, you would have a large amount of time you could be using to focus on your goals. Additionally, the mental fatigue it brings to be staring at your phone takes away the focus you could be using to write that novel you always wanted to write or to make a meal plan so that you eat healthier this week.
When I’m trying to work on business stuff and I need to focus, I do a few things:
- Set my phone to silent and put it in another room so I can’t “check it really quick”
- Close my email program or tabs so that won’t distract me
- I open a new desktop on my laptop. In this new desktop, I open a web browser and only open the tabs of things specific to my work at that moment. [To make a separate desktop in Windows 10 click the Windows Key+Tab and then click New Desktop at the top. You can go between desktops by pressing the Windows Key+Tab again.]
- I clear my desk/work area of anything but the things I need for the task at hand.
By clearing the distractions of these mindless activities it allows our mind to focus on one thing. Stick to SINGLE TASKING. It is truly the best way to get things done. Multi-tasking may seem “efficient” but it really isn’t. As Ron Swanson from Parks & Rec says “Never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing”.
Find Focus, Get Those Goals
I totally want you to reach your goals, whatever they are! Finding your focus by removing distractions is a big part in getting there. If you need extra encouragement towards reaching your goals and simplifying your life, join is in the Simply Nourished Life Facebook Group. We’d love to have you join us!