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Every building needs a sturdy foundation. Your daily habits are a foundation on which you are building who you are—your values, goals, personality, etc.
If you track your daily habits, you may be surprised to find a collection of suboptimal habits: you may not be reaching your full potential.
One of those suboptimal habits is being easily distracted.
Distraction erodes your day-to-day life and diverts your resources toward things that don’t really matter. If you’re not equipped to manage distraction—if you’re not indistractable—your brain will be manipulated by time-wasting diversions.
Remember: Distractions are things that push us away from what we want most in life.
All behaviours, both traction and distraction, are prompted by triggers, both internal and external.
Internal triggers cue us from within. When we feel our belly growl, we look for a snack. When we’re cold, we find a coat to warm up. And when we’re sad, lonely, or stressed, we might call a friend or loved one for support.
External triggers are cues in our environment such as the pings, dings, and rings that prompt us to check our email, answer a phone call, or open a news alert. External triggers can also take the form of other people, such as a coworker who stops by our desk to chat.
Distraction, it turns out, isn’t about the distracting thing itself; rather, it’s about how we respond to it.
Resisting, ruminating, and finally giving in to the desire perpetuates the cycle of distraction and quite possibly drives many unwanted behaviours.
While we can’t control the feelings and thoughts that pop into our heads, we can control what we do with them. We can manage distractions that originate from within by changing how we think about them.
Step 1: Look for the discomfort that precedes the distraction, focusing on the internal trigger.
Step 2: Write down the trigger.
Step 3: Explore your negative sensations with curiosity instead of contempt.
Step 4: Be extra cautious during liminal moments when you transition from one activity to another.
We can change the way we see ourselves to get rid of self-limiting beliefs. If we believe we’re short on willpower and self-control, then we will be. If we decide we’re powerless to resist temptation, it becomes true. If we tell ourselves we are deficient by nature, we will believe every word.
Being indistractable is largely about making sure you make time for traction each day and eliminating the distraction that keeps you from living the life you want—one that involves taking care of yourself, your relationships, and your work.
Planning your time with intention is critical, even if you choose to spend it scrolling through celebrity headlines or reading a steamy romance novel. After all, the time you’ve planned to waste is not wasted time.
Unwanted external triggers hamper our productivity and diminish our well-being. While technology companies use cues like the pings and dings on our phones to hack our behaviour, external triggers are not confined to our digital devices. They’re all around us—from cookies beckoning when we open the kitchen cabinet to a chatty coworker keeping us from finishing a time-sensitive project.
These interruptions lead to mistakes and steal your time from what you should be focused on. It’s time to block out those distractions.
The last step to becoming indistractable involves preventing ourselves from sliding into distraction.
To do so, we must learn a powerful technique called “precommitment,” which involves removing a choice in the future to overcome our impulses in the present.
Precommitments are the last line of defence preventing us from sliding into distraction. You should only use this after the other three indistractable strategies have been applied.
You can prevent distractions with effort pacts, which makes unwanted behaviour more difficult to do.
You can also make a price pact, which involves putting money on the line to encourage you to do what you say you will.
Finally, an identity pact is one of the most effective ways of changing your behaviour since it involves changing your identity—your image of who you are.
A good night sleep and a helathy morning routine is what I work on constantly.
We live in a distracted world. Don't Look Up!
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