You’re in the zone. You’re dominating. There’s even a photographer here to take a photo of your performance. He’s getting pretty close.
Okay his camera just exploded in your face. Not great.
Have you ever felt distracted? Of course you have. Then you’ve also wanted to feel less distracted.
David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity has something for you. It’s comprehensive for handling items in every horizon of your life. Even if you don’t start using the entire system, you’ll find something valuable that you can apply pretty much right away.
1.) Reduce distractions (and get closer to a mind like water)
Let’s oversimplify your mind really quick. Let’s say you’ve got 100% of your attention available. You can put that attention in two categories: focus or distraction. At any moment, you can only have one thing to focus on, but an infinite number of things to distract you.
You can practice shifting the intensity of focus. Things like meditation help. But it takes practice.
Instead, weaken the distraction. Get rid of some. Take their intensity away. From Getting Things Done:
It is possible. There is a way to get a grip on it all, stay relaxed, and get meaningful things done with minimal effort, across the whole spectrum of your life and work. You can experience what the martial artists call a “mind like water” and top athletes refer to as the “zone,” within the complex world in which you’re engaged. In fact, you have probably already been in this state from time to time.
You might call it Hulking up.
2.) Got a minute? How about two? Okay take care of something.
Who knows what else was on Hulk Hogan’s mind that day. Maybe he was thinking about the groceries he’d have to pick up after the match. Maybe he was reminiscing about the 80s. Maybe he was thinking about his future in Hollywood.
Start with the easy things. From Getting Things Done:
If the next action can be done in two minutes or less, do it when you first pick the item up.
The rationale for the two-minute rule is that it’s more or less the point where it starts taking longer to store and track an item than to deal with it the first time it’s in your hands—in other words, it’s the efficiency cutoff. If the thing’s not important enough to be done, _throw it away_.
Here’s a tip for some quick momentum: Clean a drawer or do the dishes. It will never take up so much time that you regret doing it.
Build the habit of getting small wins in.
Then you can move on to the hard things? Wait, what are the hard things?
3.) Get rid of some good things (so you can focus on the great things)
The strongest distractions are things worth focusing on, just not right at this moment.
It’s also probably a bigger thing that needs to be broken down into smaller parts. So how do you handle that? Ask a key question: What’s the next action?
From Getting Things Done:
What’s the Next Action? This is the critical question for anything you’ve captured; if you answer it appropriately, you’ll have the key substantive thing to organize. The “next action” is the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move
The more you practice this, the better you’ll be at figuring out the next action for any project. If you schedule it and trust your calendar, you’ll be able to take it off your mind.
A little less in your head to distract you. A little more focus.
You’ll be able to get things done.
- Work toward a mind like water. Get rid of all those little distractions bouncing around in your head.
- Does it take two minutes or less? Take care of it now.
- Ask, “What’s the next action?” Figure out the next action.
You’ve been practicing your leg drop for months. But today just isn’t going well. You’re getting dominated. It’s not looking good. But you took care of everything else so you can focus on the task at hand.
Wax on. Wax off. Leg drop time.