Distraction Conniption: Making Distraction Work For You

Look! A butterfly! Wait, what?
… We’ve all been there. In this tech-crazy world, distractions are the norm. We don’t need to let them derail us. Here are some hints on making Distraction a friend instead of an enemy.

Image Courtesy Dreamstime


Our entire population has gone “ADD.” It’s so common we joke about it. Scientists study it and blame it on everything from the flood of information and choices to the rapid motion of pixels in our TV screens. They say the younger generation is more ADD because they started watching TV and video games as infants. Whatever the cause – it can get in your way… or not.


Rather than fighting it, learn to work with it. If you really are ADD, find a way to get more done in short spurts. Instead of beating yourself up because you have a short attention span, use chunks of time to create greater efficiency and urgency.

7 ways to make it work for you –

  • 1. Recruit a buddy or mastermind group who will gently remind you of your goals (this is not a license to nag. Reminders need to be loving and fun.)  Collaboration does work! See my post on that…
  • 2. Use lists. Don’t get carried away. List 5-7 things that will get you close to your goal. In the morning look at the list and highlight or rewrite your notes so the most important things are at the top.
  • 3. If you are a “stacker”  — at the end of the day restack the pile so the most important thing is at the top.
  • 4. If you get lost in emails or Facebook, use a loud timer. Set it to 20 minutes — stop reading at when it buzzes and go do something else. Or tell friends you only check emails at 8am, noon, and 5pm. Then DO IT. And only spend half an hour or less.
    • Emails can be managed with different addresses. Have a yahoo or gmail address for all those things your friends love to send you.
    • Only check those addresses at the end of the day or on the weekend. Think carefully before passing them on.
  • 5. Use chunks of time wisely. Some things don’t need extreme attention. When your mind wanders, do filing for the next 8 minutes, or challenge yourself to declutter your desk in the next 12 minutes. Take a breather. Time is relative – if you are getting a lot done, Time moves quickly. When you are spinning your wheels, it seems to slow down and take you into another dimension where it’s easy to get blocked and confused.

Shift into a different gear for half an hour or so. Measured time spent in mindless activities can be a boon to “high creative” types … it allows your mind to go in amazing and innovative directions, coming up with new solutions to old problems.

 Be your beautiful, imperfect, amazing, distracted self!

Most of all, enjoy your life!

  • 6. Understand the “Law of Time:” Everything takes twice as long as you think it will. The corollary? It will cost you three times as much to fix it yourself as it will to hire someone to do it for you. So hire professionals for things you aren’t good at.
  • 7. Your Parents lied to you. Not everything is important enough to do well. If you get distracted trying for perfection, remember this: when you get close to Perfection, they move it! Not worth it in many cases (unless you are a nuclear engineer!)
    • “Good enough” is a standard you can apply to things that take up too much time to do well. Making your bed by yanking the covers up is Good Enough (unless someone is coming over.) I’ve learned if I can only get half the back yard mowed in the time allotted, it’s good enough. Grass grows. It will be there tomorrow for me to finish, but my clients might not be.
    • “Done well” is a standard for the work you do for others and for yourself that have long term consequences if not done well. If you are getting paid for it and you are putting your name on it, do it well.
    • “Near perfection” is required in some instances, but not all: Life and death, nuclear engineering, building a bridge that carries thousands of people a day, brain surgery, heck – any kind of surgery…

When you get close to Perfection… They MOVE it!

Set goals that are just beyond your reach, but not on the other side of the moon (ie: PERFECT). Trying to do too much in a short amount of time can lead to the distractions of worry, self-reproach and avoidance.  Indeed, it’s the avoidance (avoid dance) that causes much of our distraction.

And remember to celebrate when you get it done!  

Be your beautiful, imperfect, amazing, distracted self! Most of all, enjoy your life!



(Originally sent to my newsletter subscribers. A client recommended today that I send it out to my blog readers…)

© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP  • All Rights Reserved

About Beth Terry

Beth Terry, CSP, is a speaker, coach, writer and cowgirl. Her audiences are from around the world: she has spoken to almost half a million people in 6 countries. Her passion is watching the "popcorn popper" go off in people's heads when they 'get it.'

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