Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dealing with Distraction

I don't know about you all, but I'm having trouble getting focused. I've blamed it on the hip replacement, the holidays, blah, blah, blah. But what I really think it is is too many distractions. There is e-mail coming in, blogs to write, blogs to read, sales calls to make, articles to write, text messages to respond to, friends to talk with, TV shows to watch, family, sports, exercise, shopping - ARGH!!! So much to do - so much going on! So many nonproductive possibilities!

My postman and I were sharing hip replacement stories today when I saw the most amazing thing. The postal truck was parked behind a silver car, squarely blocking it in. My postman was facing me and could not see his truck or this car. Two men in (I'm guessing) their 20s exited a home a couple of doors down from me and headed toward the car. The driver had to walk all the way around the truck to get into the car. They closed their doors and in a few minutes, backed right into the postal truck.

I've never seen anything like this. It was broad daylight. The postal truck is huge. I had to shout over, "Dude, how could you not see that truck?" He said "I'm just so used to backing out." Wha? He physically walked around this giant truck to get into his car parked behind it. How in God's name could he miss this?

This is what I think - distraction. Was he talking to his fellow blind man? Was he fooling with his cell phone or the radio? Was he thinking about where they were going and not about actually driving? I dunno. But I do know I've been distracted lately and I'd rather not hit any postal trucks.

Here's what I did to focus myself. I have two goals that are important to me. Well, I have several goals that are important to me, but two that REALLY matter to me - a health goal and an income goal. The health goal is keeping my weight down - I don't want a bunch of extra pressure on my new hip and I want to stay in shape. The other goal is an income goal. I have my own business and I've been off for two months with the hip surgery. I need to get back to earning some income! Every other goal I have is an outgrowth of these two. If I don't have my health, I can't do anything. If I have no income, there's going to be no big exciting trip this year. I think of income as fuel. It makes my dreams and plans go.

So, to cut down on all the distraction, I wrote down two numbers - the weight I want to maintain and the income I want to earn. I posted them on my computer (you can post them everywhere, but especially where you get distracted). When I'm tempted to goof around, I see that income figure and I ask myself - is this the best thing I can be doing right now to generate that income? Instant focus.

You can do the same thing. Figure out what your top two goals are. Maybe it's spending time with your kids. Write down the word kids or 5:00 if the problem is that you work too late. If you are getting distracted, you can say, "Is this going to get me out of here at 5:00?"

What REALLY needs to happen during your workday to have the greatest impact on your goals? Figure out what that is and write down a word or a number and post it. If it's sales, post that. And stop lying to yourself - getting another connection on LinkedIn is not the same as calling someone who can buy what you sell. Surfing the web and looking at diet sites is not the same as going to the gym. You need laser focus - you need to keep yourself honest.

Choose your two. Post them. Quiet all the noise.

Realize that you can back your car up all you want, but until the postal truck moves, you're going nowhere. Spending three hours waxing your car isn't going to get it moved. Researching its value on isn't going to get it moved. Tweeting that you are about to back up your car isn't going to get it moved. Posting a picture of your car on Facebook or calling your Mama and telling her you're moving your car isn't going to get it moved. You already know what to do. Get focused and do it.


Diane said...

Very Good !!! I post mine on the inside of the front door so that I have to see it when I leave the house.

Denise Ryan said...

That's a great idea!!!

Kris, in New England said...

I've been trying to lose weight for years. I lost nearly 40 pounds before my hip replacement - and around the time I should have been able to become very active and lose more weight - I was thrown the massive curve of significant family problems.

Given that I'm a stress eater...I regained some of the weight.

While my family situation has only continued to deteriorate, I am determined to get back on track. Which has proven to be harder the 2nd time around.

Until I read this post - now every time I go to eat something I think - How will this help me achieve my weight loss goal?

Thank you Denise!

Denise Ryan said...

Wow - Kris - that was an awesome achievement! And I know how hard it is to keep weight off - argh!! I'm so sorry to hear abut the family situation - hang in there!!