AUGUST 29, 2020

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.

-Christopher Columbus

In today’s world where everything is properly connected with each other, we are continuously bombarded with distractions and therefore we often lose our focus and drift away into the world of distractions and instant pop-ups. We continuously check our connections and when we focus on something, even the slightest amount of nudge provided by any kind of distraction pulls us towards it and thus, we lose our focus and extend the amount of time taken to achieve a goal. But, is there any way out of this world of distractions? Is there any way in which one can focus on a specific task and finish it without getting distracted? Is there any way to push distractions aside? Well, the answer to all these questions is; “YES!

   Yes, it is possible to curb these distractions and get past them. It is extremely easy and simple to understand and apply the steps to win over the constant distractions we are nudged to acknowledge. However, to achieve something and to get something, we first need to give something and, in this case, you need to completely give up on one single thing to achieve straightforward focus and direction in which no distraction will be able to entice you into its complex web. The one single thing that you need to give up is: the urge for instant pleasure and gratification.

   Simply stated, the only thing that you need to give up on is your desire and your urges for instant pleasure and rewards. In today’s age, social media is one such thing that provides us with instant pleasure and reward by seeing other people’s entertaining posts and feeling rewarded by the number of likes or comments we get on our posts. We have access to multiple movies and TV shows at all times through the yearly and monthly subscriptions of OTT platforms. In this digital world, we have all the resources to get stuck into the world of instant gratification and entertainment, but we have the greatest resource of all to stay focused; that is our mind.

   The world of distractions and the world of focus are both games of the mind. Our mind is like a monkey mind – it won’t believe that getting entertainment and pleasure in the future after doing something productive right now is good. It does not care for the future, it only cares for comfort and for pleasure right now. However, it isn’t always like this. We have the control over our mind and we have the control over what it thinks about and what it desires for. Thus, we have the power to manipulate our thoughts and desires in a manner that will make it extremely simple for us to focus on what we truly want to achieve in our life.

   Many times, people know what their goal is and they know that they are distracted, but don’t come out of that distraction. So, we need to first understand how to get out of the web of distractions we are constantly nudged into. The very first step is giving up the desire for instant gratification. It may seem difficult but it is quite easy to do that. Actually, giving up this desire is the only thing that you need to do in order to stay fully focused. However, giving up this desire becomes easy when you follow certain steps to give up these distractions. There are three simple steps that you need to take and this will become very easy for you and then you will have the focus you need in order to realise your full potential. Just like we build a habit by repetition and constant actions, we need to do the opposite for the distractions to make them disappear. The three steps are: –

  1. Make the distractions difficult to access.  This is a simple and small step but when taken, it has a profound impact on what your days will be like and what your focus will be like. If you get distracted by the notifications on your mobile phone from various social media apps, then the very simple step to take is turning off the notifications. This will help you maintain your focus without getting disturbed by the distractions. Unsubscribe from mailing lists that you don’t find useful and don’t open the mails from OTT platforms telling you what new shows are there for you to watch. Don’t let the constant notifications swerve you here and there. Now, if you find yourself checking your social media account and your entertainment apps for “just a look” because the notifications are off and you don’t know what is happening, then do one simple thing – make the social media and the entertainment apps even more difficult to access. After every use, consciously sign out of each app and sign in when you need to use it. Making something difficult to access is important because the human mind tends to go towards things that are easily available. The human mind is naturally lazy and doesn’t go to social media when it is difficult to access. You may even install and uninstall apps after each use to make the accessibility even more difficult. This may seem a little bizarre but it will surely work; the more difficult you make your distractions to be accessed, the easier it is for you to focus on your work and goal.
  2. Turn the distractions into rewards. Who doesn’t like to be rewarded? Everybody likes to be rewarded but the distractions and the urge for instant gratification don’t let us get rewarded. But what if I told you that you can turn your distractions into rewards? Ironically, the thing that takes your consistency and focus away is the tool that you can use to build your focus and your consistency. It all depends on the way it is used. We will continue with the above example of entertainment apps and social media being the distraction. So, after every use, you either sign out of these apps or uninstall them or turn off the notifications, whatever works for you. Then, keep your phone or tablet in some other room and don’t go in there until you have not finished your tasks. When you do achieve your tasks, then you can decide something like 20 minutes for checking your social media feed. And after you have finished all your tasks, you can watch one episode of your favourite series as a reward. This way, you will be wanting to finish your tasks because watching the series or knowing what is happening in the world gives you pleasure and entertainment. Therefore, you will have the urge to finish all your work and then quickly get your reward.
  3. Repeat. Repetition of any action is what makes it a habit. So, you must repeat these actions again and again. The best thing you can do is make a daily schedule and at the end of it, mention your reward. When you tick off all the tasks that take you towards your goal and are productive, then you can check your social media or do things that give you pleasure. The mind will catch this pattern and with enough repetition, the mind will  become so used to it that it will not urge you to go check the latest show or watch one more episode even if your notifications are on, you are signed into the apps and the device is right next to you. With time, the reason behind doing the work productively will shift from achieving the reward to just doing the work for fulfilment. So, follow all the steps and most importantly, repeat them.

   This way, you will get over your urge for instant pleasure and gratification. You will be able to fully focus on your work in the world full of distractions, and you will achieve success and shine brightly in a world full of distracted dreamers, the group you will never be a part of…

Thank you so much for reading! I hope I was able to add value to your life and I am sincerely grateful to you for deeply reading this blog post of mine!

Well wishes,