So – This one is a real struggle for me.
My attention span is shorter than most of the students I teach. I’m easily-distracted, even when interested. I’m a phone addict. I’m surrounded by to-do lists. I’m spinning plates.
And while I do enjoy being on-the-go, being productive; in truth, I know I’m prone to being ‘busy’ without actually being useful. Basically – I’m a big, fat time-waster, who surrounds myself with distractions.
Because I would like to be more productive and less procrastinatey, I do strive to take some time every day, to do just one thing. Right now, for example, I’m sitting here and typing. That’s all I’m doing. I’m in the moment.
If you’re like me, and you can’t even watch a 20 minute comedy show without scanning your Pinterest feed, the first step is self-awareness. A lot of us spend most days on auto-pilot – we’re not even conscious of how distracted we are. Once you realise that you might have a problem, make a commitment to change one thing. It might be something as simple as eating your breakfast in silence, rather than watching the news as you eat. If you’re more confident, maybe you’ll go further and commit to some mindful driving. If you’re a distraction monkey like me, may I suggest small steps? Speaking from personal experience, if you try and go cold turkey on technology, you’re most likely setting yourself up for failure. Finally, build this up over time. What may begin with very small, mindful actions, might lead to you being so productive that you don’t even realise you haven’t checked facebook in hours.
To be really creative, useful and productive, we need to be in ‘flow’ state and we can’t be in flow if we’re pulled out of it every couple of minutes. Our brains are incredible things, but it’s easy for thoughts to clog and jam if we pay attention to too many at once.
Sometimes we need to close the roads and allow for just one lane of traffic.
Are you as easily distracted by modern life as I am, or am I preaching to the converted? This is something that I’ll be building up throughout 2018, so any tips, guidance, dos and don’t would be very welcome.