Distractions in Life: The Obvious EditionDec 07, 2021
We all face many distractions in life, but sometimes the obvious ones get overlooked. We're so used to them or don't even notice them anymore, and because of this, they can hold us back. This article will explore some common distractions and why they serve as a powerful obstacle to success.
Why you can't stay focused
When you have made commitments and set goals for the future, many things can distract you from achieving them. Distractions consume too much time and prevent you from doing important things. Unfortunately, we don't recognize such things as distractions for most people because we indulge in them. Therefore, it would be best to become aware that you're getting distracted. You can notice this if you are not finishing anything on your priority list and not getting closer to hitting your big goals. If you want to become successful in life, you must eliminate distractions as much as possible.
For this blog post, we will list apparent distractions but might not be for you because you don't acknowledge them as such. These are the physical and tangible things around you, so they're apparent to the naked eye. However, things can become distractions when you engage in them too much, thereby wasting time you could have spent doing something productive. Of course, we all know that we should balance work and play. However, when the "play" part gets mixed with the "work" part, that's when it becomes a problem. There should be a separate time when you should be serious about doing work and when you should take a break and do some leisurely activities. Take note of the following things that can become major distractions in your life if you spend too much time with them while doing work.
1. Social media
It's no wonder social media is the first thing we mentioned here as an apparent major distraction. Of course, social media already existed way back in the days of Myspace and Friendster. However, when Facebook launched, the social media phenomenon exploded, so much so that it became part of many people's daily lives. You can do so many things on social media, such as:
- Communicate with other people
- Watch videos
- Play games
- Use it as an advertising tool for your business
- Get the latest information on your interests
- Post pictures
- Take a peek at other people's lives
The last point is something that many people do but will not admit they are into it. So you can act like Big Brother and do some surveillance on what others are doing. Then there are the notifications from apps that will regularly remind you of something, which can be informational or trivial. These are the things that can constantly bug you when you are in the middle of doing a task, hence delaying your progress. If you are not disciplined enough, you'll find yourself scrolling and fiddling with your cellphone screen or computer streaming through endless feeds of information that's not important.
When properly used, social media is a powerful tool as it provides many opportunities that were not accessible before. For example, you can use it to establish connections to get a job, advertise your business, or generate content that can make you earn money. However, many people don't use social media this way, and this is when it becomes a distraction that makes us lose focus on what we are doing. Spending too much time on it can become one of your bad habits.
We have to explicitly say "smartphone" here instead of a cellphone because a smartphone is a different kind of beast. But, of course, a smartphone is still a cellphone. However, it is different because it is more potent regarding technical specifications and ability. For example, cellphones back in the early days let us text and communicate with other people, basically a messaging tool. Over time, more and more functions got added to our cellphones until we got to where we are now: smartphones. Smartphones are mini-computers that can do almost anything you can do on a computer or laptop. When appropriately used, this capability is excellent because you can be more effective utilizing tools on your phone that can go hand-in-hand while doing something on your computer.
Unfortunately, like with social media, smartphones can be one of the biggest distractions in your life due to the number of things you can do with them. Social media is just one of them. Many apps will allow you to play games, watch videos, tinker with your phone's appearance, chat with friends, etc. If you don't know how to control yourself, you will be spending more time doing stuff on your smartphone than spending hours doing your work.
3. Websites not related to work
There are millions of websites out there wanting to get your attention. With how ubiquitous ads are nowadays on almost every website we visit, sometimes you can't resist the urge to click and find out what's in that website that caught your interest. Your web browser is just a click away from your computer, and your smartphone also has this feature. Unfortunately, there's a reason why some companies use blocking software to restrict access to websites that are not related to work. It's not the same situation with your smartphone, though, and only you have the control of whether to browse or not. What starts as five minutes of browsing can extend to hours. It would be best if you had the discipline to resist the urge to browse, especially when your mind starts to wander around during work.
It's not just in the workplace where there are distractions. We also have our responsibilities at home. Some things in our house can distract us. The TV is one of them. Nothing's wrong with watching TV once you finish doing everything and it's time to relax. However, sometimes you can't help but tune in to your favorite show, especially if it's on a specific time slot that you can't rewatch later. So you forego doing what you need to do and sit back and watch first. It can worsen if you are into binge-watching, where you continuously watch multiple episodes of a show. With numerous streaming services now in existence, there are many options for watching shows. Do remember that you also have the choice not to overwatch TV shows.
5. Video game consoles and computer
If you happen to have a video game console and a computer capable of playing games, there's a good chance of distraction when they are just lying around waiting for you to play on them. Even more so, if you are a gamer, the temptation to play instead of doing something else is more significant. If you are in a work-from-home setup, you might urge to play for a while, which can turn into a full-blown gaming session instead of working. If you are going to play, do it once you finish all your work.
6. E-mails and notifications
Text messages, e-mails, and notifications can take your focus away when you need to concentrate on doing something. These things can pop up anytime, and if you keep checking them every time they appear, you will waste enough time to use them for working instead. A better way of checking would be to set a specific time to check these things in bulk. Set an amount of time you will spend reading and replying to messages. If any new message or notification appears after your set time, don't check them and do it only at your designated times. Unless your company policy dictates replying to messages immediately, then you don't have a choice but to comply. But if that's not the case for you, you can try our suggestion here.
Let me be clear that people are not distractions in general. What we are referring to as distractions are those who bring negativity in your life, which only detracts you from happiness and success. These are the people who:
- Keeps on sharing gossips with you
- Badmouths other people behind their backs
- Shares negative information instead of good news
- Constantly rants about their problems
- Will do stunts or acts to get attention
- Talks a lot with others, including you
- Is not happy with your success
- Wants to bring you down
- Befriends you only for the money
- Is often angry and is a mood destroyer
If you happen to have one or more of these kinds of people in your social circle who exhibit the traits we mentioned above, you better keep away from them. They will only spread their toxicity with you, and you would feel more stress and anxiety due to their presence. If you can't get away from them that easily due to circumstances, shorten the amount of time you spend with them. It's better to surround yourself with people who can support and mentor you, those who can bring a positive impact on your life and help you grow.
Reduce the physical clutter in your life
Modern society has provided many conveniences to us in gadgets and stuff that makes our lives easier. But, at the same time, these are also the things that can turn into distractions if we abuse their usage and utilize them in the wrong way. The critical thing here is that we must realize that they distract us when we decide to spend time with them instead of fulfilling our dreams. The truth is that it is up to us whether we want to get distracted or not. If you're going to be successful, choose to only engage in these things during breaks or leisure time. There's a suitable time for work and play. It can take some practice to maintain focus, but you can condition your mind to become better at handling distractions with dedication and willpower.