Be sure to watch the video post here!
The other day, I was taking my kids to tennis and my daughter was sitting in the front seat of my car. I had my daily questions to ask her about what was the best and worst thing about her day. Normally answers range anywhere from the best part of the day was either recess or lunch. But, today was very different.
My daughter, Mackenzie, is in fourth grade and is my social butterfly and generally enjoys school. But, let’s face it…she likes recess and lunch more than practically any subject area, for the most part.
So, it kinda came as a bit of a surprise when she proceeded to tell me that in reading class, she was reading a book about the Bermuda Triangle and It REALLY grabbed her attention. The mystery, the theories of aliens or a portal to another world was fascinating to her. But, truth, she told me that she felt there was likely a weather phenomenon in the Triangle, and she was anxious to research more about it.
After tennis, we got home…and that girl asked to hop onto my laptop so she could research. She was intent upon learning all she could. I thought to myself…wow, this kid is laser focused and ready to figure out this mystery.
Let me tell you, she spent at least an hour or longer finding any information she could about the Bermuda Triangle. She sat in the kitchen…away from the boys where it was quiet…away from the distractions.
I was SO PROUD of her intentionality. So proud of her determination too. But, the thing that stuck out to me was she knew that in order to focus – she had to remove the distractions. It was beyond cool to see my 10 year old understand that distractions prevent progress.
You know, I have a little trick I do each day. I check social media feeds and email first thing in the morning. I’ll flag emails needing my attention. I’ll check email again mid-morning, after lunch, and late afternoon. I’ll check my social feeds in the evening too.
But ya’ll, I do NOT check email or social feeds constantly, all day long. You can easily get sucked into email (and social media) hell. You know exactly what I mean. Social media is created to keep us on their platforms…it’s addictive by design.
I took off most the notifications on my phone too. This way, I’m not constantly being buzzed for every Twitter post, email or news release. Save yourself and hop onto Outlook and turn off your notifications.
Also, delete those apps that don’t serve you. If you find the photos posted on Instagram constantly make you feel bad about yourself (someone’s hair is too perfect or body is faultless…or whatever your “thing” is), then GET RID OF IT. It’s disrupting how you feel about you…and that ultimately impacts your productivity and self-worth. Totally not worth it.
I’ll also add that distractions can be non-digital as well. I urge you to not chase every new idea that comes along. I tell groups I’m working with that it’s always a good thing to thoroughly vet new ideas. What better way for innovation to spark, right?
However, sometimes new ideas may not match up with your organization’s vision, mission, or goals. Take the time to make sure new ideas align to your goals, or you can get way off track.
For example, I worked for a non-profit whose board chairman was an awesome guy, but he was easily distracted by what our staff called “the shiny things.” Our organization had the potential to tap into “new money” from a donor, but the donor required us to develop a new program.
The truth of the matter was that we already had a capacity issue. We’d need to hire another person and pour money into a new program that really didn’t align to our mission at that time.
Was it a cool idea? Absolutely. Was it the right time? Not at all.
We decided to put the idea in the “parking lot” until we were able to move it to a place where the idea aligned to our mission, could fully develop AND we had the capacity to make it happen. We were clear on our mission and purpose.
I was reading an article on inc.com about distractions and found the BEST quote: Purpose is the antidote for distraction. (www.inc.com article can be found here)
Mic drop moment, right?
It’s a heck of a lot easier to let go of distractions when you have identified your purpose. My daughter’s purpose was researching the Bermuda Triangle, and there wasn’t anything that could tear her away from my laptop that night.
So, I ask you – what’s your purpose? What’s your goal? What’s your plan…I’ll chat about that next week!
In the meantime, don’t let the Bermuda Triangle of distractions suck you into the portal of lost productivity! Stay aware of your purpose, your plan and creativity…and keep your mission top of mind.