Today, we are more distracted than ever. We “dings” and “pings” constantly going off. We have more entertainment tailored to our specific tastes at our fingertips than conceivable even five short years ago. And, on the whole, we have more demands on our time than previous generations.
We are conditioning ourselves to be distracted. And most of us have no clue how to stop.
I cannot provide a comprehensive solution in this short article. But I can reveal one secret that I believe is the most important secret, if you want to stop being distracted.
My Secret Love
Most people don’t need to be around me too long to realize that I’m not a big fan of social media.
In fact, I like to see my social media uninvolvement as an indication of my wisdom 🙂
But I wasn’t always such an enlightened soul.
I have to admit, I’ve never really felt the lure of Facebook or Instagram.
I’ve never jumped on the Periscope wagon or created a TikTok account.
But Twitter. Now that’s a different story. Twitter was my drug of choice.
It started slowly, as a way to connect with friends and colleagues, and also as a way to keep up with the news.
I enjoyed it.
But Then Love Turned to Distraction
At first, I didn’t notice my affinity for Twitter turn into a distraction problem because I could easily justify the time I spent on it by reasoning that I was catching up on the news or doing market research for work.
But, after a couple of months, I realized that I was allowing myself to get distracted by that little blue app.
It was taking me away from other important work. And it was constantly causing me to break my concentration.
It called to me, and I answered it every time.
After a while, I realized that I didn’t actually like Twitter very much at all.
It was a distraction, and that made me start to resent it.
But I couldn’t stop.
The Secret Revealed
Why was I spending precious time on Twitter every day when I knew it was distracting me from important work?
The answer is simple: Because it was convenient.
I had the app on the first page of my phone, right beside my email and my kindle apps.
It was so convenient to just pop in on the Twitterverse for a few minutes that I found myself doing it every day almost unconsciously.
As soon as I made this connection, I knew immediately how to stop being distracted by this drug of choice: I needed to make the distraction less convenient.
I immediately moved the app into a folder inside another folder on my phone.
It was still there. But having to swipe to the correct page and open two folders to get to the app meant that is was very inconvenient for me to open it up.
And do you know what?
Almost immediately, the Twitter distraction was gone.
No withdrawal symptoms. No cravings.
Just peace of mind.
It was great.
Stop Being Distracted
Now, you might be thinking that the secret behind the secret is to stay off social media altogether.
This might be good advice for you, but it’s not the secret to stop being distracted.
If you eliminate social media, distraction will come from some other direction.
The secret to stop being distracted is actually very simple: Convenience is the mother of distraction.
If you want to be distracted by something good, make it convenient.
If you don’t want to be distracted by something not-so-good, make it inconvenient.
Taking this simple principle to heart and applying it throughout your day could work wonders for your peace of mind and your productivity.
If you do, it won’t take long until you see those distractions starting to fade away.
And when that happens, brace yourself because becoming more productive becomes almost inevitable.