How to resist distraction and boost productivity

Living with distracted focus can increase stress in the body


Do you ever have a hard time concentrating on the task at hand because your mind is preoccupied with the previous task? Let’s face it, we can all relate to being distracted these days. There are so many shiny objects competing for our attention, it’s easy to drowned out our ability to focus on any single task or activity. 

After a client of mine shared his learnings from a seminar he took by Nir Eyal, I was moved to get Nir’s book: Indistractable.  

According to Nir, he coined the term “indistractable” after playing a game with his daughter where they both had to choose a super hero power. Nir’s daughter chose this one: the ability to speak with animals. When Nir asked his daughter why she chose that particular super hero power she said: So that I have someone to talk to when you and mommy are on your phones. Drop the mic. Is this hitting home with anyone today? 

Our relationships with the people closest to us are taking a hit because of the electronic interferences that we have allowed to interrupt us from what we value most in life. 

Living with distracted focus can increase stress in the body. The brain is not optimized by multi-tasking behaviors, in fact it is depleted. When you give your undivided attention to a task and choose to ignore distraction, you maximize the momentum of your brain and thought function. Think about this question for a moment: when do you lose track of time? When you are so focused on a task at hand, that usually is engaging at least one of your talents and gifts, time flies: cycling, painting, writing, teaching, learning. The problem comes when we allow ourselves to follow the shiny objects in life.  

Today is an invitation for you to up your game when it comes to your ability to ignore distractions after YOU have committed to focused attention on a task in a specific time frame. This is an incredible opportunity to maximize your productivity: the state or quality of producing something. That “something” could be meaningful time with the people in your life. I had another client recently dedicate a specific time frame at the end of the week to call three people in her company that she lost touch with to simply create a meaningful connection.   

Nir offers a suggested method to make this a reality. When something comes up that you are responsible for or you have decided that you want to accomplish or focus your attention on, pause and choose how much time you want to assign to it and then put it on your calendar.  

When you look at your calendar for the week you will find those things (tasks, activities, time with family/children/friends) that YOU have already decided how much focused time you want to allot to. You then make the choice to follow through with your commitments and ignore distractions.  

Too often you let time be the boss of you, this is a set method to help you take back the power you give to time and the distractions that pop in. Spend the time you said you would spend the time on. If you need more time, find more time on your calendar and allot it. You don’t have to finish what you started at that allotted time, you are simply committing focused attention on something, not necessarily going to complete it.  

Because your brain power is most effective before 1 pm in the afternoon, schedule those tasks where you are the point person and have to be mentally sharp and LIGHTS ON before 1 pm. Save the tasks that require less mental energy for later in the afternoon: checking email and returning phone calls. You will find that distraction will not run viral in your life as you up your game and choose the amount of focused attention you want to allot to each activity. When you give it a set slot in your timeline, and guard your urge to jump off the task or activity, you regain focus, meaning and internal power over distraction, you become indistractable.  

An example of getting distracted: you have to look up a phone number to call someone that you put on your calendar to call at 3 pm. You open your phone and SHAZAM your eyes tune into 4 new text messages and an IM from social media and you are off and running down the rabbit hole of shiny objects, you look at the time and wow it’s already 3:45 pm. See how quickly it can happen?  

Nir defines Indistractable as a person who knows what distracts them and does something about it. Someone who is not Indistractable knows they are getting distracted and doesn’t do anything about it. He purposely coined the term because he said it sounds like a super hero power…I agree and it takes a super hero power to consciously make this shift.  

This week explore Nir’s method to become indistractable. When a something comes up that you want to do and/or are responsible for doing, pause allot the time on your calendar and follow through, be aware of distractions and choose to ignore them. My client testifies that this method is a game changer and puts you back in the driver’s seat of your time and attention.  

 Another small statement that I have shared in other messages is the tool of Start => Do => Stop. Close your action loops. Meaning, be present to the moment in front of your face. Ignore distractions as you start what you said you wanted to start. You do what it takes to focus your time, attention and talent on whatever it is you are choosing to do and then you choose when to Stop. Too many action loops open at the same time leads to mental and physical fatigue. 

 Lauren E Miller, has a Masters in Adult Education with a Certification in Human Resources Development. She has personally conquered two of life’s top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google’s #1 Stress Relief Expert, Award Winning Author, HRD Trainer and Certified Sherpa Executive Coach, Lauren provides process driven programs and custom trainings with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose.  Explore More:  

Categories: Business Insights, Management & Leadership