It can be difficult to tune out the world around me, and focus on what I’m really doing. Whether I’m coordinating events, managing my shop, planning social media, or even simply replying to emails, things don’t always get done if I get distracted. My mind easily trails off and I find myself absorbed in the next task and forget to finish what I was doing…
I’m a believer in multi-tasking (I’ve written about the subject here), however there are times when a duty or obligation needs your full attention. I’m also a believer in minimalism, in aesthetics and in life practice. The theory of minimalism can be applied to all things: how you dress yourself, your approach to food, the spaces you create, and even how you work.
The excess, the “stuff”, the waste, the unnecessary is all removed. It might seem odd to apply this principle to your daily life and work processes, but it simplifies things and creates freedom for you to get it all done.
After the holiday break, I came back to a desk covered in ‘stuff’. Bills, invoices, paper work, and business cards created mountains around me – I went through the piles methodically, sorting things out, placing them in their proper piles or files, then creating a checklist and prioritizing my ‘things to do’….
But I couldn’t have done any of those things if I hadn’t removed all the distractions first.
- Turn your phone off. Or place it on “airplane” mode. Put it in a drawer or a bag so you can’t be bothered with any notifications from any app. Do not place on “silent” only to hear incessant vibrations.
- If you have to work on your computer and don’t need the internet, say if you’re a writer or have accounting work to do – turn off your wifi.
- If you have to work online, close down any unnecessary program that may possibly distract you (mail programs, hoot suite, twitter, etc), as well as any browser windows that have nothing to do with your task at hand. Better yet, hide your bookmarks/favourites bar so you can’t be distracted.
- No food, just lots of water. (If you’re hungry, take a break.) Eating while working leads to dirty fingers, spills, reaching for napkins, etc – which are all technically distractions. Make your meal an event unto itself, be French or Italian and be present for your meal, instead of stuffing it down your throat while working.
- Music… this is a tricky one. Sometimes I work well without music, sometimes I need to listen to it to help me focus. Just be sure to not get distracted by creating playlists or changing it up all the time.
How do you remove distractions from your life?