What is your view on the impact distractions are having on your business and family life? Many people aren't aware what distraction is really costing them. It’s destructiveness is often under the radar screen.

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The Danger of Distraction

The Danger of Dsitraction

The Danger of Distraction

What is your view on the impact distractions are having on your business and family life?

Many people aren’t aware what distraction is really costing them. It’s destructiveness is often under the radar screen.

Sometimes it can be because people are using distractions as a way to avoid difficult stuff or challenges.

Maybe for some it is an escape and a welcome relief from the boring and mundane.

Often it is just habit.

Whatever the reason, it is important to be aware of the cost of distractions

The Danger of Distractions

Let’s be clear on what we are talking about by distractions. We are talking about things like constantly checking email and social media, reading the papers, watching daytime TV, taking social calls during business time, doing admin during family time, unsolved problems. That sort of thing.

If you are allowing distractions like these to invade your daily schedule, here are some things to think about:

  • Distractions in your business takes you away from what is really important. As a result productivity drops, quality is affected and ultimately profits can be hit.
  • Being distracted when you are with your kids impacts the quality of your time with them and your relationship.
  • Constant distractions take you away from achieving what is most important
  • Constant distractions increases feelings of constantly juggling everything, which increases stress and overwhelm.

The point is this:

Distractions are totally within our control. It is a choice. Distractions only happen if we let them.

The good news about that is that we have the power to minimise distractions in our business and family life. The not so good news is that it can seem a real challenge as often allowing distractions has become a deeply established habit.

So, what is the answer?

Well, there are many ways to eradicate distractions. But here is one technique to try out:

Make Distractions your friend

You can make distractions your friend by using them as a reward system. For example, you can make “deals” with yourself like:

  • If I finish this report within the time set, I can spend 10 minutes on social media sites
  • If I have the accounts done before lunch I can read the paper for 10 mins
  • If I have an article written within an hour I can phone Mary for a 10 minute chat.

Get the picture?

The key is to turn distractions from a negative you have to fight to change, to a positive part of your daily routine.

With that in mind, have a look at how you deal with distractions in your business and family life:

  • What is it costing you?
  • How do you want it to change?
  • What can you put in place today so that you are managing distractions and they are not managing you?

What are your biggest challenges with distractions? Would turning them into your “friend” as a reward system work for you? Do you already have effective techniques in place for managing distractions? Please share your answers in the comments section below.

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  • Hello Ali,
    Thought-provoking post. Nipping distractions prior to their infiltration is the way to go. That requires a mindful strategy. So often we run amok trying to keep our head above water instead of taking the time to organize and schedule. My motto, “you have to take time to make time.”

  • Thanks Judy. Like your motto. Also reminds me of the phrase “prevention is better than cure”. As you point out, being more proactive and intentionakl is key.

  • Great post, Ali. It’s so true. Discipline is key in order to manage your business and non-business hours successfully. I pride myself in being an organised person and being able to prioritise. But sometimes I find myself procrastinating over a decision or a task and end up succumbing to Twitter, Facebook, the post, or other distractions. But, as you say, this only delays having to deal with the decision or task, so not a wise thing to do.

    Ultimately, I force myself to deal with any temporarily avoided issues – you have too when it’s your own business – and come to realise that I could have saved time and possibly unnecessary stress if I hadn’t become ‘distracted’.

  • Your comment raises a really important point – it all starts with self awareness. Once we are aware we can change anything.
    Another thing I think really helps when distracted is asking the question “How is this activity moving me forward to what I really want?” If you keep focussed on the big picture of your vision and then ask this question, then it helps highlight how distractions are actually holding you back.

  • Hi Ali, that’s a great way of setting out a reward system to manage focus. I think the key for me is to figure out what works for me and to keep at it. After all is takes a while to break a habit and adopt a new one, right?

    Adrian

  • Heather

    As a business owner it is very easy to get distracted. It’s not just the little things that can distract you, it’s also the big things. It’s so easy to go chasing new shiny sparkling things, because it feels good.

    My main way of managing distractions is simply to turn them off (as much as humanly possible) and take myself off to a quiet place. I do use the reward system – you can only write this blog post, or check twitter once you have done the following tasks.

  • Adrian, you have it the nail on the head there. There is no “right” way. There are umpteem ways and methods to manage distraction – it is really a case of experimenting and finding what works for you.
    Yes, it does take a while to break habits. But all habits are is repeated behaviour. So the more you repeat the behaviour you really want the more likely it is to become a new habit. That is why I always recommend trying something for a while before deciding it doesn’t work.

  • Heather, I always think that the chasing of new shiny sparkling things is the curse of many sole traders. I also do the taking myself off to a quiet place to totally remove the temptation of distractions. There is a lovely hotel overlooking the sea not far from my house that doesn’t have wifi connection so I go there to do a lot of planning and development work. Not only is there no distractions, but I find the view of the sea inspires my thinking and the peace and quiet allows for uninterrupted thoughts – a luxury for any parent!!!

  • I get distracted when I’m bored. When that happens I’m can be gone for hours chasing stuff online.

    Being focussed and absorbed at the start of a session is essential for me. Then I can go for hours in that mode too.

    The hardest for me is to lose focus at the start, get in the wrong space and still have to hit the deadline. That’s such a tough grind, I don’t let myself do that often

  • Martin, it is great that you are aware of what knocks you off track. Awareness is always the first step to any change.

  • Hi Wendy, that works for me too. A clear plan for each week and month, linked to my vision and “big picture” really does keep me on track. Also helps with keeping yourself accountability too.

    The point you make about doing one task at a time is so important. Many folk lose a lot of productivity by thinking they get more done multi tasking.

  • Wendy,
    Multi tasking is actually an efficiency/productivity stealer, not to mention that it increases stress levels. I suggest to clients that they move away from multi tasking to single tasking as it increases productivity, quality of output, can reduce how long a task will take versus multi tasking and is just a far more pleasant, relaxing and stress free way to work.
    I did a blog post called the 3 Myths of Multitasking on this subject a while back. You can check it out here http://alidavies.com/3-myths-multi-tasking/

  • Wendy Kier

    Hi Ali,

    I’m ok as long as I have a clear plan of action for the day week and even month. If I don’t have a plan I’m all over the place. So I make it a set routine to ensure I know what I am doing and what my targets are.

    I generally tend to focus on three set projects and complete one task at a time then I do the things I enjoy in between.
    Wendy

    I generally tend to focus on three set projects and complete one task at a time then I do the things I enjoy in between.
    Wendy

  • Wendy Kier

    Hi Ali,
    I’m not great at multi tasking for myself I find it just too confusing LOL but when I manage others work directly I have no problem . Must be something to do with being detached > any ideas?