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3 min read

How The World's Most Successful People Overcome Distractions

“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.” - Viktor Frankl

Even on your road to greatness, there will be stops along the way that you won’t enjoy. It just is what it is. You’re not going to love what you’re doing 100% of the time. However, these stops don’t have to be complete detours. You can continue your journey rather quickly if you just keep the meaning and purpose of what you’re doing in mind.

Unfortunately, often times when a course gets derailed, instead of looking for ways to get back on track, people look for instant gratification to make themselves feel better, whether that be getting lost in the fridge, picking up a book, or spending hours in social media land.

Many of the pleasures mentioned above have ways of sucking you in and can easily become time traps that take you away from your tasks much longer than you had originally anticipated.

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Do your best to avoid temptations and focus on the prize. Remember, the feeling of achieving your goals will be much more enjoyable than any distractions you come across along the way.

Actionable Steps

Rediscover Your Sense of Meaning

Take a step back and ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Is it to help others? Do you want to feel inspired? Do you simply want a promotion? Whatever your motivation is, it can be easy to get stuck in the day-day grind, which can become very mundane and make it easy to welcome distractions. If you can easily access the reason you’re working towards something, it will be easier to keep your head down and put the work in.

Find Meaningful Moments in Your Journey

Find and enjoy the hidden treasures you’ll run into on the road to accomplishment. By recognizing the process for what it is, and embracing pivotal moments, you’ll be less likely to distract yourself with nonsense. Celebrate little wins, acknowledge and learn from your failures, and keep going.

Hold Yourself Accountable to Others

No matter what goal you’re trying to achieve, odds are it will have some sort of impact on others, even if it’s just somebody cheering you on. In an effort to stay accountable, think of how your actions will impact them. By keeping yourself accountable to another person, or people, you’ll think twice about caving into whatever temptations are lingering around you.

Be Productively Distracted

If you simply can’t focus on the task at hand, see if you can give in to your distractions in a productive way. Instead of randomly scrolling through mindless YouTube videos, why not watch a YouTube video that relates to what you’re supposed to be doing? You’ll still be moving in the right direction but your mind will think it’s taking a break from the task you should be focusing on.

Think of the “Caving In” Aftermath Before You Actually Do It

If you are strongly contemplating giving in to temptation, think about how you’ll feel after. Will you feel better or will you feel guilty? If you’ll likely have a negative outcome, think about this prior to doing it. In many cases, it will prevent the situation and keep you on track.

Question Your Workplace Setting

Often the temptation to give into something more pleasurable than what you’re currently working on is caused by your surroundings. Do you want to finish writing this paper or take a quick break to grab a cookie from the cookie jar? Evaluate your current workspace and decide if it’s conducive to productivity or not, and make adjustments as you see fit.

Identify Triggers and Avoid Them

it’s not just your physical environment around you that can be distracting. The device you’re using to get things done can be equally distracting, if not more so, so do your research and try to mitigate any distractions that come your way. Social media is one of the easiest distractions to access these days. To get lost in this world, you simply have to grab your phone and click a button, and we all know how long we can get lost in that space without even realizing it. Limit the access you have to whatever your distraction is. With social media as an example, there are tools you can use that will block you from these apps after you’ve been on them for a certain amount of time. There are other apps that will prevent you from looking at anything else on your computer rather than the task at hand.

Watch Out for One of the Biggest Distraction of Them All

There are two dimensions to the things we do with our time - importance and urgency. While we all know we should work on important things, people often confuse urgency with importance and use it as a way of avoiding what truly needs to be done but may be difficult. Instead of working on something that moves everything forward, people often focus on something relatively trivial that’s due sooner. It feels productive but it really isn’t.

Don’t Take Your Opportunities for Granted

Whatever it is that you’re working towards, don’t take it for granted. The fact that you have something you’re trying to achieve truly is a gift and you have to think of it that way.

Food for Thought: What are some temptations that distract you from reaching your goals? How can you begin to avoid them?

This post is a part of series of posts that give a preview of our upcoming guide, Unleash Your Inner Awesome: Motivational Quotes With Actionable Steps to Help You Reach Your Goals and Achieve Great Things. To learn when this guide will be released and get access to it, be sure to follow us on social!

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