Get Serious About Managing Distractions Managing

Distractions is like following through on health goals. You’re never going to feel like it; you just have to make yourself do it. You already know that being addicted to your phone, texting, and answering emails is a distraction but stopping it feels impossible. Even though you know you should turn off pop-up alerts, silence your phone, and stop checking email every five minutes, this knowledge doesn’t change your behavior. I could bury you with research about how bad this is, but it wouldn’t change your behavior.

This is where the #5SecondRule comes into play—you don’t have to want to do it, you just have to push yourself to do it. First you must decide that distractions are not good. Interruptions of any sort are the kiss of death for your productivity. Research shows open office spaces are a nightmare for focus. Checking email can become an addiction because of what behavioral researchers call “random rewards.”

You have to decide that your goals are more important than push notifications. It’s that simple. Then you just remove them. I’m not claiming this is rocket science. I’m also not going to tell you that it’s easy. But I promise you that if you use the #5SecondRule, you’ll actually do it. When you start to remove distractions and are able to focus on the moment-to-moment things that matter you will have “no idea” how much it will help, as Karen wrote:

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Recently, I was talking about this with my high school-aged daughter Kendall. She loves social media, but would spend so much time on her phone that it was seriously distracting her from her schoolwork. Plus, it was making her feel insecure to constantly compare herself to the social media posts of celebrities and supermodels. Just like you and me, she knew that social media was making her less productive when she needed to focus on homework. Kendall decided that the best way to manage the distraction of social media would be to get rid of the temptation—so she deleted photo sharing apps Instagram and VSCO from her phone

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