Learn how to un-distract yourself
Distractions are inevitable at home and work. While we may feel like with more mindfulness, planning, or even a stern Do Not Disturb note on the office door will eliminate them, the truth is elimination is impossible. Even when you are in the quietest of spaces, distraction thoughts will still occur. Keep reading to learn how to quiet your distracted mind.
Training yourself to become less distracted is not about stopping the thoughts. If you have ever participated in a guided meditation, the goal is not to clear your mind. The goal in meditation is to acknowledge any feelings or sensations and then let them go. The same is valid with distractions. The only way to become less distracted is to learn how to cope with whatever is causing the disturbance.
Coping with the random thoughts or urges to become distracted is easier said than done. Just as meditation is called a practice, so is calming the mind. The challenge is even more significant when you have multiple electronic devices sending notifications to your computer, phone, even the watch on your wrist. These devices allow us to feed into distracting behaviors.
There are three steps to disarming triggers that distract you. While learning how and why you become distracted may take time, it is time well spent. Uncovering the root causes of your distraction will allow you to develop and practice coping mechanisms.
Document your triggers: When you have a distracting thought, write it down. Include what you were doing when the distraction took place. Documenting your triggers will allow you to not only learn what is distracting you, but also to identify patterns. Do you tend to be more distracted in the mornings or afternoons? Are you more distracted at work or at home? This documentation will give you the crucial knowledge to begin diving deeper into your distracted mind.
Look for the reasons why you are distracted: Many times, we become distracted as a means of procrastination. For example, if you need to write an important email or report, but find yourself doing everything else, including cleaning your desk, ask yourself why. Many times we allow ourselves to become distracted because we are avoiding something, feel uncertain, or are bored.
Get in touch with how being distracted feels: How does it feel when you give in to your distraction? For many people, it feels good to avoid whatever it is you are avoiding. There can be a certain feeling of relief or momentary euphoria. However, later you may feel stressed or anxious, especially if what you procrastinated is time-sensitive.
Once you have learned the what, why, and how it feels about your distracted mind, you will be able to cultivate a practice of coping and calming your mind. For many, just knowing why they allow themselves to be distracted is enough to begin coping. For others, creating a distraction parking lot, a pad of paper where you write down any mental chatter to deal with later, helps calm the mind, and reduces distractions. The key is knowing that you will never truly quiet your mind completely, but you can learn how to cope with your triggers so you can be calmer and more productive.
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