Career & Work Life Matters
As you begin to read this, are you focused or are you distracted?
How many other things are vying for your attention?
Begin to Notice
Take a moment to become aware of the distractions in your environment.
The list can be surprisingly long. Here are some possibilities:
*Interruptions from others
* Incoming messages
* Physical sensations
* Thoughts about the past
*Thoughts about the future
Your Relationship with Your Distractions
What’s on your list?
More importantly, how are you relating to the distractions in your environment?
Much of the time, you can keep focused on your current activity by allowing distractions to retreat into the background. But sometimes, especially during times of change or stress, staying focused feels impossible.
Types of Distractions
In his book, Accomplishing More by Doing Less, Marc Lessor differentiates between two types of distractions.
- Good distractions that give us a break by providing mental relaxation
- Bad distractions that prevent progress by pulling us in several directions at once
Begin by Increasing Good Distractions
Do you get to the end of your day and feel frustrated that despite your plans, the things you see as priorities aren’t getting done?
Are distractions undermining your ability to move forwards and make the career changes you want?
Try a new approach. Rather than fighting with “bad” distractions that undermine you, choose one or two “good” distractions that give you more opportunities for mental relaxation.
Practice putting mental breaks into your day instead.
Identify “Good” Distractions
Make a list of some ways that you can give yourself a short mental break on a regular basis during the day. Choose activities that you can do in even a short period of time. Examples might be:
- Pay attention to your breath as you breathe in and out for a cycle of 10 breaths
- Read a quotation or something that inspires you
- Look at a beautiful picture
- Change your physical position
Apply your “Good” Distractions
Once you have a list, keep it somewhere you can refer to it and add new ideas as they occur. Choose one or two items from your list and integrate it into your day. Select a time interval, say every 30 minutes. Intentionally choose one or two activities and practice them during the day.
For example, if you are sitting working at your desk, you might alternate standing and stretching on the hour, and focusing on your breath at 30 minutes past the hour.
If it’s difficult to remember, especially in the beginning, try using a timer or other way of reminding yourself.
Make a note of how you feel at the end of the day? Experiment with different activities on different days, and see what works for you.
You are Invited to Share your Experiences Below.
- What “good distractions” did you come up with?
- Which ones worked best for you?
- What effective ways did you find to remind yourself to “take a break”?