What distractions are you inviting?

Photo courtesy of Lars Kristian Flem (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Lars Kristian Flem (Creative Commons)

I have a confession. While I don’t just sit and idly watch a lot of TV, I do sometimes turn it on in the morning to check the weather so I can plan my run later, and end up leaving the local news on. At first it seems like a good idea – I need to see what’s going on in the world, to stay up on what’s happening around town. Good, there’s the traffic report, and the weather, and the sports Oh, but there are all those annoying commercials for cars, quick loans, lawyer services.

Guess what?

Those days I turn on the TV early are the days I don’t get much done in that prime morning writing time. The noise and distraction prevent me from fully focusing on my writing, even if I’m not fully paying attention to the TV. It isn’t quiet time anymore.

One thing I’ve discovered is how precious my quiet time is in the morning. Why would I invite all these irritating people into my living room when I want to be alone and focused? What was I thinking? I don’t need to know an hour before I leave whether I’m running or heading to the gym – I can wait until after I’ve had time to write.

When you set aside time to be with your spouse, your kids, or a good friend, it is important to focus on them. You are inviting extra people in the form of emails, or texts, or social media if you keep your phone out and on. That keeps you from your special time with that other person, and that’s downright rude!

At work, unless your job is email or social media, then turn off notifications so you can focus on your task or project. And by all means turn off your phone in that meeting – that’s almost the height of rudeness to have it out on the conference table almost like you are waiting on a reason to be pulled away from the meeting!

In each of these situations, there are likely other distractions that you can’t avoid, but at least manage the ones you can. It may take deliberate action and forethought, but be considerate of the time of others AND of yourself.

Imagine what you can accomplish and what rewards you will enjoy for respecting that distraction-free time!

When do you need to stop inviting distractions?