I came a bit unstuck this week with all of the news coming out in New Zealand at the moment, but after a couple of days of less productivity than usual and intense thought about the situation we’re currently in, I managed to snap myself out of it and resume cracking on with business as usual.
Personally I find it quite difficult to focus on work and completely cancel the noise of external events when they are as big as they have been recently, and they affect all aspects of our lives and our children’s futures…. but sometimes you just have to find a way through.
Here are some ways I have found useful, both recently and in the past in order to ignore the noise and focus on what’s important to me at the present moment – these are temporary tactics to get through a short-term situation… not long-term strategies:
1) Just start.
Tell yourself you’ll just do five minutes work, you’ll just start and see how it goes – once you have got the ball rolling, then you’re extremely likely to keep it going.
2) Focus on small chunks.
Don’t think about the year ahead, or the months ahead, or the week ahead, or even the day ahead – just focus on the next task and break it down to the smallest chunk you can, then do the next one.
3) Set yourself a reward.
If you have a big list of tasks to get through that day, decide upon a reward to give yourself if you complete the whole list, then just start. This only works if you only give yourself the reward if you complete everything, no cheating. Examples: buying something you want, drinking a beer etc.
4) Regulate media access & comms.
With notifications everywhere, an unnecessary number of inboxes and social media access at the touch of a button it can be easy to get distracted when big stuff is going down. But sometimes you just need to switch the notifications off, log off social media and ignore the media outlets, at least for a while.
5) Ignore it from the start.
I don’t watch the news, but I find that if I start my day with social media and something big is happening then it can distract me for big chunks of the day by taking up mental bandwidth. If I ignore it all and check in later, like in the evening – then I’m usually much more productive and focused on my own day.
Have any of these methods worked for you, or do you have your own ways of cancelling out the noise?
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