Distraction. It’s like the hot buzz word right now. Probably because we are in an election cycle, although aren’t we always in an election cycle. I’ve read numerous articles and listened to podcasts about distraction and I wonder if what we are seeing is the backlash to having all the toys, information and stuff happening. Another topic all together. Instead, I’ve been thinking about how distraction in our personal and work lives derails us from the plan and goals that we have.
Yesterday morning we got an alert at 4:30 in the morning of flash floods. This matters to us because we live behind a low water bridge and there isn’t another way out. If it floods we are stuck here. We don’t mind – it’s like snow days in July. Except this morning my husband was supposed to go off to look at a new project and I had a list of things I wanted to get done that included a lot of errands. Needless to say we didn’t get back to sleep great and at 6:00 I was out walking the dog down the driveway to see if we could get out. It was fine, but the rain was still expected so we had to remain aware.
So, I didn’t do my regular morning set – shower, make coffee, drink water, eat a small breakfast, meditation, writing, and to do list. Instead I allowed myself to get pinged around by the weather, my husband and my dog and I aimlessly went online to do some things, but without a plan. So, I found myself pinging around there. Answering email, writing email, working on bits and bots of projects, but no real focus.
Then the entire day spiraled out because a client had some stuff come up, my phone blew up with this and that and all the while I felt this weight of anxiety on my shoulders and couldn’t get back into the groove.
The Power of Setting Up the Day
I know that there is power in setting up the day. I am lucky because we are empty nesters, I work at home and I get to call my time my own 75% off the time (family, meetings, etc – probably dictate 25%). LUCKY! But even when I had a kiddo at home and a job in a corporate office I moved my morning around to try to start with a good foundation.
What is a good foundation for starting your day? It probably looks different for everyone, but I know, HANDS DOWN, that meditation, writing practice (3 pages) and writing a brain dump to do list in no particular priority order (that’s a WHOLE other thing) makes my day go smoother. So, if that means I have to get up at 6:30 – I get up at 6:30. My good day makes a difference to every single person I interact with and that matters to me. If I’m overwhelmed, anxious or distracted I can’t do my work and I certainly can’t do good work.
So that morning routine, whatever that means for you, needs to be developed. AND it is a NON NEGOTIABLE. You just do it. Even when the weather service beeps you out of a deep sleep at 4:30AM. If I had done that I could have managed both my time and my emotions better yesterday – instead I allowed my lazy brain to be distracted by social media, email and whatever quick fix I could find. Like a druggy. (Social media produces the same dopamine hit as runners high and other recreational drugs… something to really think about when you find yourself distracted and using social as a lazy “work” episode.)
The Danger of Distraction
Here’s the thing. There are only so many hours and so many days. Any moment that you could be working on your goals, but instead are distracted you are wasting time. There are going to be times that stuff comes up – that’s normal – but if you can learn to set yourself up first for success you won’t be so far flung into the twist of some distraction or another. Time is our commodity. We only have so much of it and I believe if you are here you are like me and you want to get things done.
We have to remain vigilant in our pursuit of our goals (with plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of them) – NO ONE ELSE WILL. Seriously. No one on the planet cares about your success as much as you do and if you get derailed no one will care as much as you. You have to pull up your panties and get to work all on your own. Oh, hello adulting. Wasting time to me is the same as wasting water or money – a precious resource that you can never get back.
We Aren’t Perfect, But We Sure As Hell Can Try
So, yesterday was a bust. Ok. I get that. I’m moving on, but I learned a lesson. That morning routine matters. Figure out yours and you will see the difference. Setting the foundation for success matters and will help steer you away from all of the distractions so easily available – online and real life. I know that’s what I’m striving for because I’ve got to get shit done.
P.S. I send awesome other stuff that you might need to make your life a little simpler and your work a little smarter. You might want to check that out.