Did you know that it takes up to 15 minutes to fully recover from a distraction? This means that if you’re working on a paper, writing a song, recording a podcast, etc. every time you check Facebook, your email or your text messages screws you over royally.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
Grab a notebook or open a new word document and title it, “21 Day Focus Challenge.”
Think about your ability to laser focus on 1 task for 20-30 minutes before taking a 5-minute break.
Then another burst of 20-30 minutes on the same task.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. Write down everything that caused you to lose focus.
Remember, we’re not trying to accomplish 10, or even 2, tasks today.
Only one – and our focus is on our ability to focus on that one task. For me, the one task is writing this blog post and then recording it for the podcast feed.
Write down each distraction as it comes. You look up and out the window at something. An email notification comes in and you check it – because you just have to read it at that moment right? The urge to check your Facebook page is overwhelming. Yeah, you got one new notification. Congratulations. You’ve just sabotaged your productivity for 15 minutes.
Now that you’ve identified these distractions, as well as how many times you gave in to them, you can focus on ignoring those distractions as they come.
Turn off your email app. Put your phone on silent and leave it in the other room. Set up your work area so it faces the wall, not the window.
You need to decrease the amount disruptions to your tasks, so by identifying them, you can come back later and see how you are progressing. Look at your lost focus and decide how to reverse that area. Write down the steps you can take.
Soon enough, the urge to succumb to these distractions begins to go away. You’re able to focus, concentrate on what you’re doing more and more. You’re one day, one moment, one song closer to being the productivity monster you know deep down in your heart you’re capable of being.
And it’s amazing how the quality, the level of creativity in our work increases when we make this effort to identify and ignore the distractions that constantly compete for our attention.