I think, personal change begins with a right time management and if we want to manage our time properly, the first thing we should be looking at is to eliminate distractions. There are lots of distractions out there which we can call “waves”. We should be careful while deciding which wave to catch and which one to leave off. It is better not to jump on everything we see or we hear as “good” and yes, this is the first step of our personal change.
Here is a summary from 60 Second Strategist about how to eliminate distractions for a better time management
Two types of distractions
Basically, there are two types or sources of distractions in our lives.
- External distractions
- Internal distractions
External distractions are e-mails, TV shows, phone calls or similar things that are actually interactions from others. What an average person do is to care most of them and pay closer attention. But we must be aware that all of these interactions from others are distracting us from fulfilling our goals.
Eliminate External Distractions
We get lots of marketing e-mails everyday. Stop fooling around with them! If you look deeper and think on those e-mails, you’ll see that most of them, if not all, add no value at all. It may seem nothing if you think about the time you spent to read just one e-mail. (avg. 1 min.) But if you get 50 e-mails on average everyday, think about the time it adds up to. And keep in mind that this is the best case scenario for most of us. There are lots of people getting over 100 e-mails everyday. Try allotting specific time periods for checking e-mails and make sure that this time interval is not in the morning. Because you don’t want those useless e-mails steal the most productive period of your day. Additionally, focus on the e-mails that are from people you know and double check if you really need this information. For instance, you can start checking e-mails 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes in the afternoon.
Phone calls are an inevitable part of our daily lives. Similar to the e-mail case, most of them are about something you don’t care and adds no value to your life. However, different than e-mails, you don’t have full control over phone calls. Because it is on most of the time, it rings without notice, you can’t know the topic before answering the phone, etc. Therefore, the solution is not to take incoming calls except for a specific group of people. Furthermore, you can put your phone out of the environment that you work. Because, if you are focused on something and you get disrupted by a phone call, it will be hard to concentrate again and research shows that it usually takes 20 minutes to focus back. So, do not take every call!
Eliminate Internal Distractions
Internal distractions are those coming from your mind. It is not as easy as dealing with the external ones. Because there are a lot of opportunities in the life. There is always a cool business idea, someone to influence, product to market, and money to be made.If you are an optimist, you can loose your mind and get distracted easily. But if you want success, you need to focus. Think about your mission in the life, your values, your competencies, what you want to do, and what you are good at. Then, focus on what you are all about.
We can say that both types of interactions are time vampires. Since there are many other sources of both internal and external distractions, you can increase the number of examples here. But the main idea is that you should take the control of your time and not let others interrupt you in a time period that you don’t want and focus on what you should be doing.