June 1: Stop Reading My Blog

Pretty straight forward and to the point.  In fact, stop browsing all of those websites you have open.  Close out Twitter.  Mute your phone.  Shut down Facebook.  Stop wasting time, at least for a few minutes.  I know you are human and well, I am addicted to Twitter too.

But go outside.  Take a walk. Smell the roses.  Pet the dog. Stretch your legs, clear your mind, and let the juices flow.  Just go.  Take 5 minutes.  Oh, and leave your phone here.


Back?  Good.  Feel better? Perfect.


It is amazing how problems seem to find solutions when thinking clearly, without the distractions of email, the phone and other distractions.

Creativity begins to flow when the mind is uninhibited.

I cannot tell you how many times that I would face significant issues at work, beating a dead horse for hours on end, trying in vain to find a solution that simply did not seem to exist.  It wasn’t until I got in the car, turned on the radio, rolled down the windows, and drove home.  No phone calls, no email, no twitter, no Facebook.  Just me, some background music, traffic and my thoughts. Boom.  The solution, or steps to come to a solution, would suddenly seem so easy.

Day 1. Way 1. Stop being distracted and let your mind exist uninhibited.  The things you will be able to accomplish in your life will amaze you.

How do you battle distractions?

Why do you let distractions get in the way of living your life to your utmost potential?

What are you going to do about it?

Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Nice post. For me, ‘distractions’ are unfortunately married to ‘living life to your utmost potential’. Without a social media network, I can’t sell my memoir. But blogging / Tweeting / Facebooking in all my spare hours is tough on my soul. It’s nice to find balance, though, so thanks for the reminder. 

    • Most definitely, if Twitter/Facebook/Social Media are necessary, then they are not distractions, but when it comes to things like writing, constantly being distracted makes it hard to concentrate on getting those thoughts down.  At least, for me that is.  If you have a good method, I am all ears!!

  • Nicki

    Distractions – ugh – they can be relentless. I try to find solace in little places, whether it’s driving in the car with the radio off, riding my scooter singing at the top of my lungs as I drive or…in the bathroom. My favorite place? The bathroom. Really? Yes. I would love to say I spend a large amount of time in the car (I love my solo vacations as I find far places to drive to – which J you can attest to) but let me elaborate on the
    bathroom gig.

    Usually, over the last 25 years, the only
    place I dont get bothered or interrupted is in the bathroom, whether it’s the shower time or whatever. I sing,
    meditate, think, pray, plan my day, concentrate on me. This is why, when staying in hotels that the bathroom is an
    important peace since it’s my solace.

    So how? I shower daily so I guarantee me distraction free for a hot minute or two, but I make a concerted effort to have just a moment, at minimum of me time. Doesn’t leave me free, but it sure reduces being totally overwhelmed.

    • And in knowing you for so many years, I can so totally see this!  I often have those little moments.  Just the idea for the 31 days, 31 ways idea came while just lying in bed, waking up.  Trying to think of what would offer great value and be significant enough for my 31st birthday.  

      So far, off to a good start.

  • The best success I’ve had battling distractions is the simple to-do list, backed by deep reasons why the things matter. Even so, I have less success in that fight than I’d like! I need to get out more. 🙂

    • A To Do list is a great way to organize things, I just find that for me, when dealing with tasks, that works perfectly, but when working on things like complex problems or creative endeavors, I need to have my mind free from switching tabs, looking at TweetDeck, checking email, looking at my phone, etc. etc. etc.

      I definitely think that you are onto something, but as you said, if you are having less success than you would like, why is that?

  • Quoted from Mozart, “When I am completely myself, entirely alone… it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.”

    Ghost writing a book on sales, I cannot let be distracted or I won’t make the upcoming deadline!! I eliminate distractions by completely cutting them out of my life. If I slip – as in, only checking Facebook for five minutes – it quickly spirals out of control.

    My next challenge is distinguishing between valuable and non-valuable tasks so I can recognize when my time is being wasted.

    • It really is a battle of self control, isn’t it?

      Even daily, like right now, I have the same problems.  I need to be working on my blog, so I am responding to comments, thinking about tomorrow’s post, things like that, but catch myself glancing at TweetDeck, popping open Facebook, listening to the basketball game on the TV, etc.

      I think you know what is work related and what isn’t, what will help you meet that deadline, and what won’t, just try not to justify certain distractions for the sake of keeping them around.

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  • Ugh, distractions!  Last week I had my friend change my Facebook password so that I couldn’t access my account.  I did it because I had gotten into a pretty big argument with someone and I didn’t want to get caught up in constantly checking her status update to see what was being said.  The was an unnecessary distraction for me.  I also wanted to focus on my blog and  shutting down Facebook was the only way I was going to do it.

    It turned out, I didn’t really miss stalking everyone via their status updates and photos.  My Facebook usage has dropped quite a bit as a result of my experiment.

    • I am completely with you.  I was an avid Foursquare user for a long time, it is great on trips, etc, but on a daily basis, it just became a nuisance, something else wasting my time for no real reason.  So one day, I just stopped.  I have popped open the app on my phone, but haven’t checked in for over 3 weeks now.

      I believe we all have the self restraint in us that we need to enable change, but sometimes, a good, old-fashioned, friendly kick in the ass doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

      • Elle

        I’ve done the same thing with Four Square. Last summer I was partying way too much, I used the app to keep track of each location I was at, just in case I forgot the next morning. Now, I pretty much just use it on trips.

        • That is about what it has come to for me as well. I guess one less distraction isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

  • Dalene

    (Commenting, take 2!)

    My biggest distraction comes in the form my six foot tall, dashingly handsome, albeit mohawked hubby, and his need to talk excessively!  I let him get in the way of realizing my potential, because, well, he’s cute.  🙂

    I have a book existing in my brain, and we both know that he is one of the big reasons that it is still there, as the ability to work uninterrupted does not really exist.  It will continue to sit there for awhile, we are still figuring this one out.  🙂

    • It really does sound like Pete and I would get along famously 🙂  The only time we shut up is to drink our beer 🙂

  • Okay so my google reader break was for this very reason. I was consuming more than I was creating and it was slowly killing me. I finally read Babuta’s Focus Free and realized I had to stop being so connected. It’s been an eye opener.

    • One of my upcoming posts will be on taking a digital sabbatical, even if for a day.  Sometimes, we just are too connected, too dependent on the technology that we miss the world around us.

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  • Having the same problem here! Very multitasking online and sometimes what I need the most is to unconnect.

    • Couldn’t agree more. For me right now, with our recent (again) move, I should be job hunting, but then I get a Twitter alert, then an email from a friend, a phone call from a family member, and before I know it, 2 hours later, I have done no job hunting.

      I think self discipline is what it really comes down to… for me at least.