Turning Distractions Into Opportunities

You are studying for a huge test. Ding, your phone goes off.

You reach for it immediately. You have to see what the alert is. It goes off six times in the next hour and what was meant to be an hour of learning has turned into 40 minutes of social media scrolling and 20 minutes of studying. You’re out of time so you throw the book into your bag, knowing you are not as prepared as you should be. You had no intention of this happening but muscle memory and small doses of dopamine had you grabbing your phone without even thinking about it.

How often has this happened to you while you were trying to study for a test or talk to a friend? We are all surrounded by distractions but the point is that we need to take every distraction as an opportunity to grow.

Researchers at “the University of California, Irvine found that it takes a typical office worker [...] 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption”. An experiment by the authors of The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success found that work interruptions decreased accuracy by 20 percent.

You see, a distraction is like a shiny object that is thrown at us to derail our attention. We need to put on our big kid pants and decide: will I let this distraction take over or will I take advantage of this opportunity to grow?

You just need to say “no”. Saying “no” is the single most important thing you need to learn to do in order to achieve anything in life. Distractions are everywhere and once we realize that, we can begin to resist them successfully.

So it’s that simple? Not at all.

Distractions are incredibly enticing; who doesn’t want to watch the six new episodes of Suits or check the next Snapchat from your latest crush instead of doing your duty of state? Regardless of the situation, distractions are always going to be a challenge. Here’s the part that is nails though: when something is hard to do, overcoming it brings the most reward.

How can we defeat these dang distractions? Well, to be honest, it won’t be easy, but I will give you a few pointers to get you on the right path:

  1. Know your kryptonite - be honest about the distractions that own you.

  2. Go dark - create screen-free time slots in your day.

  3. Get ahead - beat distractions. Do what you don’t like early in the morning when you are fresher and your focus is stronger.

Well, hopefully, you made it through this article without distraction! If you didn’t, reread it till you do. Distractions can be addictive, which is scary, but they are nothing we can’t handle when we take the proper steps to beat them.

Happy Days!

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