•By Pastor WOLE OLADIYUN
“When we clutter, our lives with imagined obligations, unnecessary activities, and distractions that only kill time, we dilute the power of our lives. “ – Anne Katherine.
There are various categories of distractions that can derail your efficiency. (1) A. Distractions within your control (B) Distractions outside your control
(A) DISTRACTIONS WITHIN YOUR CONTROL
Deal with it ahead of time. Just as the name of this category suggests, there are distractions within your control. These are those distractions that you possess the ability to amend in order to achieve your goal. The tool to employ here is self-control: that is, mastery of your actions, emotions, and cravings. You must be someone who is not led by impulse if you want to tackle this effectively. That is, impulsive behaviours, and addictions must be tamed and brought under your grip. Your willpower, commitment,
and ability to delay ratification must also be brought to the fore and you must understand the need to create limits. It is said that too much of everything is bad and thankfully, the distractions that fall into this category are more than the ones outside your control. This is because God gave all men (and women) free will and He expects you to make excellent decisions, to the best of your ability, in all situations.
Distractions within your control include phone calls and SMSs, internet surfing, social media, relationships, outings, religion, location, etc. and you must proactively and firmly deal with them because they are within your control.
The method of dealing with this category of distraction is simple: you must eliminate them ahead of time. If internet connectivity will distract you while you work, so long as you do not need to work with it at the time, disconnect it while you do important work. If email alerts, or telephone calls will distract you while you work, put your device on silent mode and turn off new message notifications till when you have a break from work. You may schedule breaks in-between work time just to check for necessary calls you may need to return or emails you may need to read and respond to, instead of you allowing them to clog your workspace. Distractions within your control are easier to deal with ahead. For instance, the reason you often fall victim to those distractions that seem fun or exciting is because you see them as fascinating compared to what you ought to focus on. Therefore, the best way to deal with this category of distraction is to clear them ahead of time so that you can focus on what is major per time.
Indeed, the most effective way to deal with the distractions within your control is to do so ahead of time.
(B) DISTRACTIO S OUTSIDE YOUR CONTROL
Deal with it and immediately get back on track. Just as the name of this category suggests, there are distractions outside your control, and it will do you a lot of good to recognize them. The strategy to employ when dealing with distractions outside your control is to have a good grasp of your emotions. This is because their occurrence is not within your control- their very nature prevents you from determining when and how they will occur- but you can
choose how to respond to them. Whenever you are faced with distraction, you must immediately ask yourself if it is within or outside your control. For instance, it is not all workplace distractions that are within your control though most normally are. However, you must ask yourself if, either within or outside your control, it is worth your attention. If you can answer that correctly, and convincingly, you should be able to take the proper step towards handling it.
You must always be mindful of your reaction to people, events, and situations because it is not everyone that understands that their actions, or inactions, affect other people.
It has been proven that people who can handle distractions under categories A and B above have self-control, enjoy better health, can develop mutually beneficial relationships, have financial credibility, and they turn out stable on many fronts.
So, focus on what is within your control and let go of what is outside your control.
(2) A. Internal Distractions (B) External Distractions
Re-direct your mind and promptly disengage the distractor. Internal distractions are cognitive in nature: they are from your personal thoughts and emotions. These could be thoughts of demanding responsibilities or supposed exciting things you would rather be engaged with. It could also be your feelings about life situations, tasks at hand, fears, doubts, worries, ill-health, fatigue, mind wandering, rumination, physiological discomfort, personal stress, and the likes. The same way you will not be able to concentrate when you are hungry is the same way you will not be able to stay focused if you are fatigued or ill. The longer it takes you to feed yourself 01: attend to your health, the longer you will be distracted and unable to focus on your goals. This will not only disturb you, but it will also result to lack of motivation for you to push on.
If it is about your fears, worries or doubts, until you lay them to rest, it will be difficult for you to focus on your set goals. Worry is said to be like a rocking chair, though it engages in movement, but it goes nowhere. If you do not attend to your internal distractions deliberately, your mind will continue to wander off what is major and get you stuck in what is minor. To handle your internal distractions, take enough, but reasonable break to rest and think. Thinking and worrying are not the same. While the former can produce positive results, the latter will leave you and your situation stranded on one spot.
If you are ill, take time off to attend to your health.
Remember that no one is irreplaceable. Self-doubt is another inner distraction. This vice keeps you second guessing yourself every step of the way. It puts doubts in you about your capabilities and keeps your mind focused on a probably non-existent challenge. Consequently, productivity is unattainable to a troubled mind, so, whatever internal distractions you are faced with must be attended to instantly and intentionally.
(B) EXTERNAL DISTRACTIONS
External distractions, as the name implies, are visual and/or auditory in nature: they are outside of you. They can likewise be referred to as visual and/or auditory triggers. Triggers are initiators, starters, beginners. Examples of external distractions are social media, television, movies, music, telephone calls, SMS, video games, cluttered desks, unkempt environment, what is going on in the lives of other people, weather, faulty work equipment, and the likes. These distractors, like the others, can draw your attention away from tasks at hand and pitch it with interferences. They catch your eyes and ears -your attention gates- and instantly make you lose focus of your priorities. Take for instance, a cluttered desk at the workplace can affect your focus and, ‘gift’ you’ anxiety in exchange. If you share a workspace with a messy person, you may be faced daily with junks and an untidy desk. How do you handle this? If it is your personal workspace, de clutter the desk of everything you do not need or you have not used in a while, but if it is a shared space and the junks belongs to a colleague, express how you feel about it, and if possible, offer to assist the owner to de clutter. A tidy desk, or a clean environment, will enhance your productivity. Social media distractions occur when media cues or notifications draw your attention away from a task you ought to focus on. Other external distractions can be noisy colleagues at work, noise from construction sites, or any other form of chaos that may be coming from the outside. These unpreventable and usually unmanageable distractions can be unsettling especially when one is preparing for an important task or a meeting.