Master Class

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2
Lesson

Day 2. How Distractions Are Manifest

Distractions may come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s easy to fall into the trap of these distractions, especially when they’re under the guise of a useful activity or way to pass the time.

However, learning to recognize distractions such as these is one of the first steps in learning how to avoid them.

You have to know what’s wrong before you can fix it.

So how can you recognize distractions?

Well, that’s why we’re here.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to be checking out how distractions can burrow their way into your life, as well as ways to spot them in action.

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Day 2:

Distractions show up in our lives in many forms.

Below is a quick list of the most common types.

How many do you recognize?

You’re Spending Too Much Time Staring at a Screen

Wow, it’s easy to get focused on electronics. When you constantly check your phone, it quickly becomes addictive.

Literally! Studies have shown time spent staring at screens releases dopamine into your brain, making a little screen time every bit as effective at giving you a quick ‘buzz’ as a hit on a cigarette.

Before you disagree, think about the last time you left your phone at home. How far did you get before you felt a little twitchy about not having it? If you’re like most people, it’s not just your smartphone grabbing your attention.

Between laptops, tablets, and every other iteration of device connecting to the internet, it’s no wonder it’s hard to put the screen down and get something done. Let’s face it, they’re interesting.

Filled with apps, connection to friends and family through social media, the ability to check email…there’s just too much to do, and it’s all right there in your hands.

It’s no wonder you’re distracted!

You’re Trying to Do Everything at Once

Multitasking is a huge distraction, simply because it feels productive when you do it. In actuality, when you multitask, you get less done than you think.

Studies have proven people drop up to 20 IQ points while multitasking.

This is because the mind is constantly being distracted by every other task you’re trying to do.

Why do it?

In part, because we overextend.

By saying ‘yes’ to every project or appeal, you get yourself backed into a corner where there’s just too much to do and not enough hours in the day.

You start to try to please everyone, and so push yourself to do it all at once.

You listen to an eBook while exercising but are mentally making a checklist of what we need to do next.

You’re on the phone with one person while checking your calendar to reschedule an appointment with another.

You’re answering emails while talking to a coworker. It’s everywhere.

In the end? How much of that eBook do you remember?

What about that phone conversation? Have you really accomplished anything, or do you now need to go back and double-check your work, or worse, re-do it entirely?

You’ve Got Too Much Going On

Are you full of ideas? While this is a good thing on many levels, thoughts can also lead to distractions, especially when you start coupling ideas with action.

Moving from one idea to the next, from one project to the next, can feel efficient…at first. In truth, you’re getting less done than you think. Imagine a job involving the remodelling of a house.

Say you need to update the kitchen, want to renovate the bathroom, are building a front porch, and painting the dining room.

You might think you’re being efficient if you’re doing all projects at the same time.

After all, that means you’ll be done at once and have a great house to live in…right?

Now imagine finding other home repair jobs as you go and adding to the chaos until the whole place is a mess.

Having too many ideas is very similar. You’re throwing time at first this, and then the next without ever completing anything.

You’re adding new things in. In the end, you’re so distracted by so many things to do, that you’ve lost the ability to prioritize and nothing gets done at all.

What’s even worse is people who hop from idea to idea very rarely use schedules or set out a list of goals with concrete action attached.

Without structure, how can you ever expect to achieve any kind of results?

You’re Worrying

Dealing with anxiety is one of those distractions we can’t always help in the moment.

Panic doesn’t like schedules and won’t readily release its grip on you.

With this kind of anxiety, all you can do is act to counter whatever you’re worrying about until your time is spent on trying to master your emotions rather than get something done.

This kind of distraction is especially hard because it comes with a lot of emotional baggage.

We think we shouldn’t be worrying in the first place, so we start thinking there’s something wrong with us for being anxious, feeding into the negative self-doubt spiral.

You’re Trying to Save the World

When you continuously involve yourself in other people’s problems, it’s hard to get your own projects completed. This ‘save the world’ mentality means distraction comes under the form of altruism, which looks pretty on the outside. Noble, even.

On the inside, though, is the stark truth that you’re distracting yourself (perhaps for one of the other reasons on this list?) under the guise of doing a favor for someone else.

While it’s great to want to help out and lend a hand now and again, you need to ask yourself if this opportunity is just another distraction?

If so, is it one you can afford?

You’re Getting Organized

Simply put, you’re not getting anything accomplished, and you’ve gotten caught up in the spiral of trying to throw yourself into a new system to fix everything.

Organization is another one of those distractions that looks helpful initially.

After all, every self-help course is going to recommend cleaning your workspace to make it ‘work better for you.’

The truth of the matter is this kind of organizing can take on a life of its own very quickly.

What might start as a quick tidying up suddenly devolves into color-coded notepads, a series of highlighters, and a complex system of calendars and organizers.

Because it feels like progress, you don’t see it as a distraction. It becomes one when you’re losing out on serious work time as you keep poking at the ‘system’ to make it work.

Ask yourself, are you spending more time working on your projects or talking about working on your projects? Are you creating a workspace, or are you constantly creating a workspace?

There’s a definite difference that very quickly becomes unhealthy if left unchecked.

As you can see, distractions are honestly everywhere, surfacing for a variety of reasons, with a lot of baggage behind them needing to be dealt with if you’re ever going to move forward.

However, there is no need to worry, as we’re here to help.

Now, let’s take some time to investigate how and why you’re becoming distracted.

Day 2 Exercise: How you Become Distracted

Step 1: It can be hard to separate yourself from your phone nowadays.

As soon as you leave it behind, that little nagging voice in your head starts telling you that you’re missing out on things.

Based on personal experience and information that you learned from Lesson 2, why do you think that phones can be such a distraction?

Brainstorm Your Ideas Here:





Step 2: Although multitasking may seem like a beneficial skill, it’s actually quite a large distraction.

When you multitask, you’re more often than not only giving each thing a fraction of your attention.

This being said, why do you think that multitasking is something that so many people engage in?

List three reasons below.

·       Reason 1:


·       Reason 2:


·       Reason 3:


Step 3: Having a “save the world” mentality can often be detrimental to productivity.

Instead of getting your own work done, you procrastinate by trying to solve the problems of others.

Reflect on a time that you have previously done this.

Why do you think you fell into this trap?

How do you think that you could have gotten yourself back on track?

Brainstorm Your Ideas Here: