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Is Distraction Killing Your Productivity?

Posted by on January 4, 2010

Here is a play-by-play of my recent trip to the mall.

I had an hour to accomplish my goal, return some Christmas presents, and leave with enough time to make it to my next appointment, such is life.

I parked in a random spot, and upon entering the mall I see Subway realized I was hungry.  After finishing my sub I start making my way towards the store.

On my way to the store I bump into an old friend of mine and we begin chatting about the holidays, our lives, and she asks me to join her in Guess to give my opinion on a couple outfits she wants to buy. I look at my watch and realize, why not, who am I to deprive this girl of my opinion on her fashion choices.

 After a fashion show worthy of Next Top Model, we part ways I manage to get back on track, my deadline is looming.

 As I get to the store my phone rings and I instinctually answer, it’s a friend of mine that needs some input on a project he is working on. I look at my watch and decide to give him 5 minutes.

20 minutes later I am in returning my items and realize I have left my receipt in the car and must retrieve it.  After returning from my trip back to my car on the other side of the mall, I return my items and stand there watching the clerk impatiently, while tapping my foot like a 6 year old who hasn’t peed since recess.

 All in all, I was 15 minutes late for my appointment.  This is just one example of how distraction leads all of us to incomplete objectives or sloppy results.distraction

This entire situation could have easily been avoided if I would have done the following to remove the possibility of distraction and interruption.

  •  Take 2 minutes to call the store to access their location in the mall and park my car outside the nearest entrance
  • Leave my phone in the car
  • Eaten after my goal was completed. Nobody ever died because they went an extra 15min without food.

 In today’s society we are all victims to distraction and it is the one giant factor keeping most of us from truly unlocking a side of our minds just brimming with human potential.

 Regardless if the cause is email, text messaging, phone calls, empty relationships, family members, negative thinking or even a bladder that has you in the bathroom every 20min (by the way, you might want to get that last one checked out), all of these are DISTRACTIONS and INTERRUPTIONS.

 We never seem to realize that these small interruptions are keeping us from being the productive, positive, healthy, people we want to be.

 Consistent notable productivity is IMPOSSIBLE with distraction and interruption.female-distraction

 So today I have chosen to change this and started the 90-Day Wake Up Productive program by Eben Pagan (who runs a $20 million online business as well as business coaching).

 In the introduction video, Eben lays out the 11 Principles of Productivity:

Here are the principles I found most important and my opinion and explanation of them:

 #2 Time Management Is Not About Time At All, But About Managing Ourselves

  We all want to believe that we are different from everyone else, that we are special, and that we function independently from everyone else.   This is both arrogant and misguided. The vast majority of humans function in exactly the same. We are creatures of deep rooted habits.

 We like to think that we CHOOSE to be how we are, when in reality, if you take an overview snap shot of your life, you will find you are likely the same person you were at age 16.  Of course, the externalities of your life have changed, but YOU are pretty much the same.  

 We do not choose success or failure like we choose combo number 3 at Taco Bell. Instead, we must manage ourselves to ensure a level of productivity we are not currently accustomed to.

 #4 Habit IS Destiny

 This adds to principle #2. Once we accept our commonalities as humans, we can begin to deconstruct who we are, so to begin developing structured systems to slowly remove the habits we have built throughout our lives.  

 Once these old counterproductive habits have been removed we can slowly begin to create new, life affirming habits that keep us more positive, more productive, and more forward moving.

 “First you shape your habits and then they shape you”

 #7 Your Future Can Be An Extension Of Your Past Or Something New That You Create

 You can see the principles that resonated with me have a pattern.  I believe it’s important to always

reassess the person you are, make immediate changes where you see deficiencies and dangerous habits.

 If you find your entire existence is merely a reflective of the friends you keep (which is often the case) and you are not happy with your life, your answer is simple, it’s time to sever those relationships and forge new ones.

 Remember, I said the answer is simple, but I never said it was easy.

 #11 If You Want To Wake Up Productive, You Must Take Your Thinking To The Next Level

 You can never solve a problem on the level in which it was created” – Albert Einstein

 If we are to become the people we wish we could be, we cannot accept our current knowledge, wisdom and habits sufficient.  We must FORCE ourselves to evolve.

 All of these principles have already challenged me to give presence and value to all of the distractions I know have been robbing me of productivity, yet I have done nothing to avoid.

 Here is the short list:

  •  My Blackberry– phone calls, emails, text messages, instant messaging, blah blah, ahhhhh!!
  •  TV shows– this one is going to be difficult. I have to cut out 80% of the shows I currently watch and set up structured times or a set number of hours for leisure television. I mean seriously, I watch waaay too much House. It’s a flat out problem.
  •  Facebook– Within the last month I have almost completely have Facebook under control and am quite pleased with myself.
  •  Negative thinking – I have quarantined off most of this side of my brain for the majority of last year, but now I think it’s time to put it to sleep entirely.
  •  Negative Relationships– These are friendships or acquaintances that require more time and energy than they give back in positive emotions. We all have these, and I address it more in a post you can find —– HERE

 To write this post, I had to turn OFF my Blackberry and my wireless connection on my laptop, lock myself in my room in total silence and vow not to check email until this first draft was completed.

 I must admit that my mind is going a bit crazy, raging against my desire to single-task focus, but I already feel a little bit more productive. 

 We all have to remember that we are our own worse enemies and that we cannot simply CHOOSE to be different people, we have to FORCE that change.

 If anyone has any questions about productivity that I may be able to help with, please feel free to get in touch.

 Here is to a productive 2010!!

 Happy New Year!!

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