Spring is here, and summer is coming.  This is the time of year when I spend a bit of time thinking about time management, getting more done in less time so I can enjoy more of the weather. 

Time management is about working efficiently and effectively.  This means staying focused, making quick decisions, and remembering that good enough is often enough.  

It also means ensuring that we save our energy for performing meaningful activities.  This means doing what we can to avoid wasting valuable energy on things that don’t matter. 

Our space is one area where we can waste energy.  Unconsciously, every object, thought, memory, or piece of information in our internal and external space is constantly being processed.  Thus using up energy. 

Today, I want to focus on removing the distraction in our physical space that wastes our energy. 

Zero-Distraction Space

Distractions creep in from every angle, and before you know it, your day is gone, and you don’t know where it went or what you worked on. 

Often distractions can be the “easy” tasks you have in your day that take away your time from what is important.  They may seem quick, but they can add up quickly.  

The goal is to identify the things that distract you and eliminate them.  Or at least reduce them.  

The first step is to identify why you want to eliminate distractions.  Why do you want to conserve your energy for things that matter?  

List 3-10 reasons why zero-distraction spaces are important to you. 

Distraction Examples

I mentioned that the “easy” tasks could be a distraction; however, here are other things in your environment that you have to take a look at: 

  • Music, especially when it has lyrics.  (I like to use Spotify playlists that are instrumental only, specifically ones for studying and working)
  • People speaking around you.  Find ways to reduce the noise. 
  • Phone calls, SMS, and phone notifications.  (I keep my phone on silent and often face down when working, but even better is to keep it in another room when doing focused work)
  • Items on a list that you are not working on.  (This is why I plan my week and reduce my list to only the things I’m focusing on)
  • Browsers with content and images on them.  (This is an area that I am bad with… I keep EVERYTHING open). 
  • Chat, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.
  • Cluttered desk
  • Desktop Icons (how busy is your desktop?) 
  • Social media
  • Email (continuous checking and handling of email) 
  • Temptations like food, cleaning, going outside, games, TV, movies, youtube, books
  • To many reminders

Do these resonate with you?  Can you see how they distract you? 

What would you put on your list?

Take some time to list out what your distractions are. 

Move towards zero distractions

Once you have your list of distractions, plan how to eliminate them. 

Here is a sample of my list: 

  • People:  my husband and I share a home office.  We always have.  Until the Pandemic, this was not an issue; now, it is.  It’s taken us a while to realize how distracting and draining this is, but we are currently doing some renovations to create two home offices.  
  • Social Media: I’m only scheduling 30 minutes a day to check on my posts, engage with those in my network, and check any groups.  It is amazing how focused you can be when you set a time limit. 
  • Email:  I’ve always known I had a bad habit of checking too often.  I will be working towards setting up “meetings” three times a day to process my email.  
  • Cluttered desk.  Time to purge!
  • Temptations:
    • Books – I have removed the reading app from my phone, and I hope this helps. 
    • Food – I’m setting up a meal plan, including snacks. 

Some things I can work on right away and make changes.  Others I will have to plan for, but the most important thing is that I need to capture the task and, when I schedule it, do it. 

Scheduling a check-in to review your distractions quarterly would be a good idea.  Then when you have a list of the things, you want to change, prioritize them and make time to eliminate them. 

What is one thing you are going to do to eliminate distractions? 

Create space simply to “be” and clarity emerges for you to see.

Gabriella Goddard

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