I'm absolutely world-class when it comes to distracting myself.
Checking email, checking Linkedin, checking the football news. Checking out that “important” new piece of tech someone recommended.
Anything rather than focus, concentrate and push through any creative blocks I happen to have.
I mentioned last week that simply being aware of our tendency to distract ourselves has helped me a lot.
Another powerful but simple technique I use is just to write down what your big goals are for each day. And to list a couple of important tasks you could be doing if you get a few minutes of spare time.
Please don't write this off as too simplistic or “beneath you”.
It sounds ludicrous to suggest that we “forget” our big goals and important tasks. But we do.
Or more accurately, we don't keep them front of mind enough.
So when we get a few spare minutes during the day, instead of springing into action on an important task we umm and ahh a bit and the moment is lost.
Or when we're writing an article or email and it gets a bit hard to think of what comes next; we allow ourselves to get distracted because it doesn't feel like such a big deal.
What I find time and time again is that if I write down my big goals and tasks in the morning every day and keep them open next to me on my desk it tends to focus my mind and keep me on the straight and narrow.
If I get a few minutes spare I know exactly what useful things I can do with those few minutes and I do them. Or if not a quick glance reminds me.
If I'm struggling a bit and get tempted to check email or the news, I'm reminded that I've got a lot to get through during the day and I need to keep focused.
Most times, it's enough.
I also find that writing things by hand keeps them top of mind much more than typing them. So I get the best of both worlds by hand-writing them onto my iPad.
As I say, “writing down your big goals every day so you keep them top of mind” sounds way too simplistic to be effective. But I promise you it's not.