I want to invite you to participate in the distraction challenge. I talk a lot about distractions everywhere: on the podcast, on social media, when I speak in person. Distractions are always at the forefront of my mind.
But when we talk about distractions, many people come up with email, social media, human beings, and the major stuff. But I have a challenge for you. And I'm purposely making this episode of the podcast shorter because I want you to do something as a result of this episode. I want you to track every distraction you have for a one hour period.
That may seem like, "Oh, Mark, That's so lame." But trust me, I have not had a single person do this challenge and not been horrified, mortified, stunned, scared, or any other word you want to use, at how many times there are actually distracted.
When you do this, what I encourage you to do is number one, don't do it more than an hour because you're going to get depressed, you're going to get frustrated. And I don't want you to get overwhelmed.
What I want you to do is consciously, for an hour, every time you are distracted, I want you to write it down. You're going to have some big things: notifications, email, news, social media, the weather. Those are the big, low hanging fruit.
Then I want you to think about the other things that you are distracted by. You may not even be aware of them until you do the distraction challenge.
What about the FedEx or UPS truck going down your street? You may just subconsciously say, "Yeah, it went down the street." But did you lose your focus even for a couple seconds? Write it down. Maybe your neighbor left their dog out for too long and now the dog is barking to go inside? Hmm, that's a distraction. What about if it's raining so hard that you have thunder and the rain is pelting your window? That is a distraction. I could give you more examples but I think you know where I'm going with this.
So, for one hour, if you can make it to one hour (many people give up after 15 or 20 minutes because they are mortified of how many times they are truly distracted). In order for this to work, you have to be really focusing on distraction. I don't want you to do anything differently. I don't want you to sit there quietly for an hour. I want you to go about your day. I want you to see how many times you're distracted.
The whole point of this challenge of this tracking everything you're being distracted by is: you can't reduce the distraction until you know it exists.
Nobody, and I will challenge anybody on this, nobody can be fully focused 100% of the time. I've listened to the audio books. I've listened to the podcast of every big thought leader, of psychologists and other experts that say, "Yes, you can be fully focused." And I disagree.
You could be out in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with no electricity and no devices. Just with a pad of paper, a candle and a pen. And you can still be distracted. Like by the candlelight. Nobody can completely eliminate all distractions But there are things you can do to reduce them.
For example, let's say your neighbor is having their lawn cut and you're trying to write your book. Well, you can put on noise cancelling headphones. Or you can put on some instrumental music.
Identify the distraction, see if you can make it to an hour. Then I want you to come up with a game plan. Now don't do it all at once. Pick the biggest distraction. What can you do to reduce this? Take care of that, implement that idea. Then the next distraction, so on and so forth.
So that's your homework. Take action. And as a bonus, I want you to go to MisterProductivity.com, click on the Contact tab and send me a message. Let me know what you discovered. Were you horrified? Were you like, "Oh, my goodness! I can't believe how many times I am distracted." So let me know, I'd love to hear from you. Just go to MisterProductivity.com and click on the Contact tab.