I think we all suffer from it. We have a thing we want to do on the internet, an email or a social media post, let’s say, reach for our phone or laptop and go to the app, but as you pick up your phone or turn on your computer you find notifications, texts, emails or updates from one of your many apps – you click on at least one of these distractions and 5 minutes later realise you’ve completely forgotten what the original intention was.
Or maybe it’s just me – after all its not just a digital thing – I was the guy who would go upstairs to the bedroom with intent of picking up something, and allow my over active mind to be somewhere completely different by the time I got upstairs and completely forget what I had gone there for.
These days, I can have anything from 20/30 web pages permanently open on my computer, get 20 odd websites giving me notifications, and probably get about 30 emails a day – 2 of which may need an urgent reply. Such is modern life that you leave everything open, but never dealt with. Again – could just be me – but how do you organise yourself/ mage yourself when you are trying to do about hundred things at once?
As a multi disciplined freelancer – working as a video producer one minute or a cameraman and editor the next – that also throws a whole load additional distractions into the mix. Not least the need to do something off your own back not just for a client – a task which is virtually impossible when you’re always doing things for clients.
Now I’m not not claiming to have the definitive answer but I was recently reading a ‘self improvement’ book which made a big point of having goals – yes, the dreaded ‘5 year goal’ type philosophy. I read this kind of book about 25 years a go when I was starting my career and I have to say a lot of it stuck with me so re reading it all these years later was like revisiting my professional birth. Having a simple goal refocuses your mind by reminding you what on earth you thought you were doing getting involved in the career you choose in the first place – or maybe tells you you need need a change. Somehow by setting goals and targets it helps you ignore distractions and stay focused on your task was. If you combine having goals with bit of determination to get things done and realise when your are distracted and unproductive as a result you can suss the problem and get on with the job in hand – distraction free. In order to stay focused you do need to repeat a couple of morning mantra’s and re assert your belief that you can achieve set goals -try it for yourself – it works, sort of for me!