A Hidden Obstacle to Your Ability to Focus

productivity May 31, 2021
A Hidden Obstacle to Your Ability to Focus

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There is a very, very sneaky obstacle to your ability to focus. This is really going to blow your mind. Maybe it won't, but I think it will.

So what am I talking about?

Today, I want to talk to you about this hidden obstacle.

I'm talking about not social media because everyone knows what a distraction it is. I'm not talking about email or people.

I'm talking about ambient noise.

Think about this: you're working on a project. It could be writing a blog post, writing copy for your website, writing a book, it doesn't matter. You're fully focused, you're zeroed in, when all of a sudden, you hear a dog barking.

Tell me that's not distracting. Tell me that doesn't compromise your ability to focus.

Let's keep on going.

How about a cat? The cat could be meowing, two cats could be fighting.

What about delivery vehicles? I live in Houston, Texas and our UPS driver, for reasons I do not understand, as he pulls up to a house, he stops his truck and he honks the horn. Why? He has to get the package and bring it to the door. Why does he honk the horn? And most times, nobody's home, they're at work. I don't get it. But that can be a distraction.

What about those boom cars? You know, those boom cars with a mega bass. You can hear a boom car four, five, six streets away. That doesn't break your focus?

How about people talking? Maybe it's a nice day wherever you are and you've got all your windows open and you're trying to focus and all you hear is distant conversation. You can't hear what they're saying so you can't eavesdrop. But you can hear enough that it distracts you.

How about your AC or your heater turning on or off. It's not a loud sound. Our thermostat is in the hallway, and when it clicks on, it makes a click-click sound, and then I can hear the blower motor upstairs turn on. I don't hear it anymore, but it's a small ambient noise.

What about helicopters or planes flying overhead? How about the weather? I mean, if it's pouring rain or thunderstorms, does that affect your ability to focus?

What about the lawn service? Today is the day you're going to finish that book or finish that blog post or work on that project or whatever and all of a sudden, you forgot it's Wednesday. That's the day your lawn guy comes. And so as you fight to stay focused. You see the lawn guy go back and forth with the weed whacker, the lawn-mower, and what I hate more than that, is the blower! Oh, my goodness, it seems as if they blow the lawn for like six hours and it really gives me a headache.

The last thing I want to talk about ambient noise is appliances, whether it's your dishwasher, your washer, and dryer, your refrigerator turning on.

What can you do about it?

I encourage you to do are two things.

Number one, there are plenty of white noise apps on your app store. Just go look for "white noise app". You don't have to pay for it. The one I use is free. Just make sure it's got good reviews. the one I use has an oscillating fan, a purring cat, crickets,  waves, water, thunderstorms, etc. I have a whole host of noises that I can use to block out that ambient noise.

You can use any kind of like I said app you want to use, it doesn't matter. Go get a white noise app.

Now the second thing you can do is create a playlist of instrumental music, like from the movies.

Here's your homework assignment: for about 30 minutes, I want you to stop and think about what ambient noise is distracting you and then write it down. I think you will be amazed. 

Then, figure out what you can do to mitigate these noises so you can focus. You won't be able to eliminate them all but reducing them will go far.

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