Handling Distractions in Our Busy Internet World

"By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination." ~ Christopher Columbus


If you do any work at all on the Internet, you are vibrantly aware that we are inundated with a steady stream of distractions: emails, blogs, pop ups, advertisements, instant messengers, social networking sites, Skype, cell phones, text messages, online music, shopping and games, and too many more to think this is an all-inclusive list.


These distractions are like the sirens that sang and thus lured mariners onto the rocks and into the cliffs of their island home. Interestingly, the word "mermaid" came from the Greek sirena and we know how alluring they
were!


The internet world and the world of mass communication is invading our home and distracting families from connecting with one another. We need to say "No" to distraction in order to say "Yes" to what we want to accomplish - to create more room for better performance; to spend quality time with family and friends; to socialize and connect more.


Are you easily allured away from your work by these many distractions, or are you able to shut them out, schedule them into disciplined time slots, and limit their affect on your productivity? Let's look at some ways to accomplish this wonderful discipline.


I'm sure that there are some of you who see no value to this limitation. You want to be the be all, end all, do all for everything. You're going to go for the gusto in whatever you do and create the Biggest Picture you possibly can for your one, wonderful life. Not all of us can attain a vision as enormous as the one you've carved out for yourself. We have to be more selective, and instead of "eating the whole elephant," we select only choice tidbits and we do it with intention. I'd like to recommend that if you are one of those Big Picture folks, just keep in mind that not everyone will be able to keep up with your voracity.


I think it is wise to exercise selectivity. I don't think that you can respond to every email, answer every phone message, read every book, walk down every path, eat every course that's served at a meal. It's neither possible nor is it wise. And once you admit that it is not possible, you can get to the next step of exercising selectivity.


It might be a very interesting experiment to DO NOTHING for a week: no emails, no phone messages, don't turn on your Instant Messenger, don't read Blogs, etc. You know what things are on your list. I suggest you turn them all off.


Now, begin to observe how you feel during that week? Are you calm or do you feel tense because you are not attending to your various businesses? Is that tenseness there when you are attending to them? Which ones use up much of your working hours? Is that time really being used productively or can you live without the activity? What activities can you disconnect with and not miss them at all?


In other words, which of those various and sundry activities are not essential? Which ones are essential? What can you live without and which ones have to stay? If you will do an analytical sort process, you will free yourself for more productivity in the areas that of the utmost importance.


One practical way of freeing yourself up to be more productive is to examine the time allotments you think are necessary for the so-called distractions you've said are "must haves" on your list. Some folks have decided to only answer emails once every day, and they leave their email software shut down until that time slot occurs, thus reducing the hundreds of distractions the incoming beep creates throughout the day.


Some people don't keep their cell phone near their work environment, thus keeping those distractions at a minimum. And some people let all their phone calls go to a message machine while they are focused on work.

Some people only turn their Instant Messenger on from 2:00 to 5:00 pm in the afternoon, when their freshest creativity has been used on more productive activities and the interruptions haven't cut down on their thinking.

Consider how you can eliminate distractions in your life. It might only take an hours' thought process, but you'll gain that hour back in no time at all.


"Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction." ~ Robert Bloch

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