Stop for a minute. Look around. What do you see?
First, one problem: research is now saying that 40-50% of the folks reading this are reading it on their SmartPhone or Tablet. So, there is no telling where you are when you read this.
But, if you are reading this at your workplace; and, you have a desk or cubicle; then, stop for a minute. Look around. What do you see?
I have had a life-long struggle with “piles” of stuff. Papers, books, items; odds-and-ends. You know…stuff. Lots and lots of stuff!
And, no matter how hard I have tried to concentrate on the task at hand, I have always been so very easily distracted by what pops into my line of sight.
Solution: get rid of most everything in your line of sight.
Sounds easy, and for people for whom that comes naturally (my wife, for one), it is easy. But some of us must have been born with a tidy-deficiency gene. So, for people like me, we have to work at it, and keep working at it. (I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to create and keep a clutter-free work place. Creating it has been slightly more possible in recent years. Keeping it has eluded me).
So, I’m back at it. And, at this moment, it’s pretty amazing. I went on a pretty serious read-about-how-to-do-this binge a few days ago, and have made some changes in my approach, my routine. (One decision — I have now gone back to a paper and pen based master to do list). There is nothing on my desk except what belongs there right now. My computer. My iPad near by, but not open. A write-in-by-hand master to-do list in a cool-looking inexpensive notebook (along with all of my scheduling and calendaring done electronically). And, yes, a special photograph and a couple of decorative items. And, of course, my morning Dr Pepper. That’s about it. Even my stapler is in a drawer. Nothing but the basics in my line of sight.
You know the “why” behind all of this, don’t you? To be able to work on what you need to work on, and only what you should be working on, at the time you should be working on it — with no distractions. In other words, clutter and stuff (both physical clutter and mental clutter) is a true focus killer. And focus is what is required to actually get work done.
And, as David Allen (Getting Things Done) so clearly teaches us, a recording and retrieving system that works for the next next-action is essential to maintain your focus on the task at hand.
So, look around. Too many distractions (and, even one is almost too many)? Time to schedule a serious get rid of the clutter/stacks of stuff tidy-up day.
Good luck. I’ve been in the struggle for years — I know what you are going through.