When I work with my clients, I hear almost every day that people get easily distracted and waste their time. They wonder how to stop getting distracted by thoughts and focus on what is essential.
I think that almost all of us have experienced it. Especially, during the exam period at the university, when instead of studying, we’d rather clean the whole house. Interestingly enough, once the exams passed, we’d never voluntarily clean again.
Another example might be when we decide to do something that matters for us.
It can be writing the important yet not so easy email to a business partner or client or making that important phone call. Instead of doing what matters right ahead, we go to text friends, go to Facebook, or read some news.
We can get distracted all the time, especially, by things that are unimportant at the moment.
There is so much information out there that can make lose the focus.
If you decide to study a language, and then you get overwhelmed as you hear that you should use apps, flashcards, watch YouTube videos, do the same exercise in the book again – already fourth time, it’s easy to lose track of what really matters.
Instead what you need the most might be to find a speaking buddy with whom you can practice. This one simple step could help you to become fluent so much faster.
How to stop getting distracted by thoughts?
1. Discover what you’re running from
The only reason why we distract ourselves is that we want to run away from our fears.
Let me explain to you. Imagine that you’re about to finish an important project. Then, all of a sudden, you begin to have cravings. You go to the fridge to have a look if there is something sweet or you make a coffee – again!
This is a self-defense mechanism.
If you’d ask yourself what is behind these cravings, you may discover that you’re afraid to fail. You’re worried that the project is too complicated for you and you feel clueless. This is a typical example of how dysfunctional patterns unconsciously rule our lives.
Or you don’t want to work on this project at all, so your thoughts continuously bring your attention away from it.
Behind each distraction is an excellent reason. By facing the fear, you can heal it.
2. Get clear on your priorities
If you practice step one and you become aware of what you want to run away from, you can stop before you allow yourself getting distracted by these thoughts again.
When you get clear on what you want, it’s easier to stop distracting yourself.
Imagine two scenarios – one is what would happen if you allow yourself to get distracted each time when you want to make a breakthrough.
The second scenario is to imagine what would happen if you would finish it and make it happen.
Play these two scenarios out in your mind.
Go to extremes and imagine what would happen if you’d always run away.
How would your life look like if you’d always let distraction instead of completion into your life?
You can remind yourself of your priorities every morning so that you align your heart and mind.