I know from my own experience that there are so many things that want my attention. Family, friends, business, pets and those pesky alerts from our electronic devices. If you are like me and are trying to get focused on a project, then you fully get the importance of eliminating distractions. There are plenty of articles that will tell you to find a quiet place. To turn off your devices and to get away from it all. You have heard that kind of advice numerous times. Yes, I will agree it is practical if you can achieve that pristine morning silence. Yes, I will agree there are plenty of task that require your dedicated attention. Despite the aforementioned, I have also discovered overtime that taking time to eliminate distractions can sometime become a distraction within itself. Sometimes it about being in the flow. Bruce Lee has a famous quote about being like water:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
This awesome quote can apply to every aspect of life. But for our needs today it demonstrates that it easier to go with the flow rather than fighting against them. I sometimes find myself planning to wake up extra early so I can take care of a few task without distractions. However most of that time I spend more energy trying to get rid of the distractions and thinking of ways of getting rid of the distraction rather than just being fluid like water and adjusting to the current condition. I have even found myself ready for a nap after finally eliminating distractions.
Embrace the distractions and work through them. Turning off the cell phone may not be practical for you, so go with the flow. Leave the cell phone on and perhaps turn off unnecessary social media notifications. Utilize a hands-free device like a Bluetooth headset. Oft-times I can still have a conversation by phone while designing and formatting images for Wannatalk2us.com.
Make modifications based on the current activity. You may want absolute silence to carry out a particular task, but instead you are inundated with noises from everywhere. I know first-hand how frustrating it can be trying to find a few moments of silence in order to meditate. I have learned that perhaps in the moment that the neighbors are too loud for me to think, is also a great moment for me to switch my course and perhaps do something like yoga with my own music playing. In your case in may not be mediation, it could be reading a book and the environment is just too loud and busy. Modify things by perhaps listening to the audio book instead.
The To-do list is magical! Making a to-do list of what you want to achieve will help you get there a lot faster even in the mist of distractions. Keep the to do list nearby. I write a lot of to do list. I have a list on a big dry erase board, a small dry erase board, on post it notes, index cards and on a to-do list app. So instead of eliminating distractions, I instead center my focus on the to-do list mission. And based upon that to-do list mission I make the necessary modifications. For example, if my current to do list was to clean the mirrors, bake a cake, research a topic, write an article, create a graphic for that article and mediate. Then I would re-arrange that list according to distractions that are present or may present themselves. If my phone is suddenly as busy a pizza delivery place on super-bowl Sunday, then it is clear to me I am not going to be able to research a topic consistently for two hours. It becomes evidently that the research may have to take place in chunks of time between phone calls. But remember the to-do list is magical. As long as you have it near you, then you can stay on top of what you plan to do rather than having a squirrel mind that is jumping all over the place but not getting anything done. With each phone call I can look at my list and think to myself, okay the next chunk of research is happening after this call. Due to the niftiness of a lot of our devices, we are not limited to doing research at just our computers, hence allowing for even more opportunity to get in the needed screen time. Perhaps during a call, I will achieve something else that is on the to-do list like cleaning the mirrors. Maybe on another call, I will bake a cake or create another graphic.
I attempt to harness what I can harness at the moment in order to be in the flow of productivity; rather than waiting for the perfect distraction free conditions. Your attention will go to what you focus on regardless to any extraneous distractions.