I recognize that I repeatedly have “eureka” moments for projects and assignments while trying to focus my creative juices in some other, usually totally unrelated task. All the points I could have mentioned during yesterday’s debate suddenly start to flood my mind at prayer time.
“Oh sweet Jesus, I would love for you to…(bell rings in my head)…I can’t believe this. So it was the Coral Island after all and not the Carol island!”
Before I even get a chance to scold myself for being distracted by a debate that’s in the past, it suddenly hits me.
“Unbelievable!” “So that’s why my Laptop won’t come on!” I better go try out my new discovery now before I forget it.
And just like that, my mind is off to another adventure. So you can imagine my excitement as I scrolled through my feed on YouTube on this fateful day, and suddenly stumbled upon The Financial Diet’s, “How my distraction journal doubled my creativity”, by Kimberly Bui. Somebody somewhere must’ve known I could do with the little extra concentration.
I was so taken by the idea of a distraction journal for productivity which Kimberly says she discovered while listening to the Perfectionism Project Podcast that I decided to share my new discovery with you guys. Below is how I learnt to use the distraction journal. Basically, the distraction journal encourages you to keep a tally of your distractions. To do this, you’re required to draw up a set of columns each with the possible reasons for which you could get distracted as the title. For me, these distractions are other projects I need to work on, a past event I didn’t handle very well, a future event I need to prepare for, checking for my messages on my phone, and just fidgeting.
Once your table is done, get started on whatever task you should be doing. When you feel a distraction, rather than go to attend to it immediately, mark a tally under that distraction’s column. If the distraction is a task that needs to be done, write it down for later. Conclude one task before going on to another. Doing this will ensure that you don’t forget the reminders popping up in your head and you don’t kill the flow of what you’re working on. Take a short break from work after a while of working to stretch your legs, get something to eat/drink, or to use the bathroom. This will cut out the distractions of hunger, thirst, cramps, or of a much needed toilet break.
Why this method of eliminating distractions and maximizing productivity is so powerful is that after a while of using the distraction journal you realize;
- The source of your distractions: One of the major things a distraction journal will do for you is to help you pinpoint the source of your distractions and their significance. Are they worth your time or not? Fidgeting, thinking about the past or future, and checking my messages could certainly wait.
- Gain more control of your time: When you realize that most of the things that try to take your mind away from what’s important are not a major problem or priority at all, the less likely you are to allow them to stand in the way of the really important assignments. This will help you to put your time to optimal use. I have personally learnt not to spend too much time moaning over the past since the past cannot be amended.
- Nothing will go wrong if you don’t do it “NOW”: Usually, many distractions can wait. Nothing earth-shattering is going to happen if you allow yourself to finish one project first before moving on to something else and this will become only too obvious when you start to pay attention to the little details, like what’s distracting you in the first place.
The distraction journal offers you an opportunity for self discovery and improvement. From keeping a tally of your distractions for instance, you can find that most times your mind distracts you from an important task at hand like a class to rescue you from what it imagines to be very boring or tasking. However, it is important that in this scenario, you leave the classroom more educated than you were before the lesson commenced and so you must do everything in your power to keep your thoughts in check. This discovery of yourself helps you know exactly what you need to improve upon and will make the attainment of productivity easier for you.
If you do try out a distraction journal to improve your productivity, I would love to hear how it goes for you. What other tips would you recommend to help control distractions and to be more productive? Please let me know your suggestions in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this post with friends and family who would love to be more productive. Thanks for reading.