It’s my favourite time of the day. I rise before the sun, and all is quiet in the house. I don’t even like to turn on lights, so lately I light up candles, and the Himalayan salt light to give the room a warm glow.
I have just made myself a warm cup of water with lemon and ginger and added a touch of cinnamon and cloves. Did I mention this was my favourite part of the day? Before I even look at social media or emails, I am selecting a 3-hour soundtrack of flute and chimes, with nature sounds in the background and sit back comfortably taking a few deep breaths. So good.
At this time of day, I let my thoughts take me where I need to go. I don’t feel I should be doing something else, although I have plenty of other distractions trying to break into my moment. I am aware that they are there, pounding at the door, but I figure eventually, my mind will train those thoughts to stay quiet, unti I am ready.
Is it me, or is it getting harder to focus on any one task for very long? I don’t recall being distracted so easily in the past but it has gotten more challenging to give something my full attention. If anything, the world is becoming a more distracting place.
It’s not just other people interrupting your tasks. Technology is becoming more pervasive and persuasive. Its bad enough that my brain is constantly trying to remind me not to forget things, or giving me flashes of new ideas I want to pursue, if I don’t consciously set the devices to mute, the notifications will get me.
I confess, I am known for getting off topic very easily in meetings, or taking many detours when telling a story that makes me think that I might have an attention deficit disorder. I just always chalked it up to my bubbly, spontaneous personality who got easily enthused by an overly-creative brain and a lack of self-control.
What probably saved me from myself was understanding that while distractions aren’t necessarily my fault, managing them is my responsibility and I concluded that I better equip myself to manage these distractions before they managed me.
How often does this happen to you?
- Looking at notifications that pop up on your phone—even during conversations with family, friends, or colleagues
- Interrupting focused work to check email
- Chatting with coworkers who pop by your desk when you intended to do focused work
- Scrolling through your social media feeds when you planned to read a book
The solutions for managing external distractions are easily implemented.
- Putting devices away until we take a break.
- Muting notifications so they don’t interrupt your thoughts
- Letting others know you are unavailable and cannot be disturbed
Managing internal distractions takes a bit more effort.
There are ways to manage the internal distractions that are your own thoughts and emotions, like pressing responsibilities or things that you’d rather be doing. Here are a few tips that I employ to manage the distractions coming from inside my head.
- Figure out what time of the day you are most productive and focused.
- Set a specific schedule for the tasks you want to complete, allowing for breaks
- Short focused time periods work best ( no more than one hour at a time works best)
- Take breaks to change the scenery, get some fresh air
- Get into a distraction-free mindset
Keep in mind that you will have better success at managing distractions if you have cultivated a healthy mindset.
- Getting enough sleep (6-8 hours is recommended)
- Participating in activities you enjoy during the week
- Meditating daily
- Setting goals that are realistic and achievable
- Keeping the self talk positive and encouraging when you catch yourself being distracted.
- Praising yourself when you have accomplished a task, and met your focus-time goal.
Today’s journaling prompt: what’s the favourite part of my day?
Intention for todays meditation: I believe in myself and my abilities.