Lupus and Organization: Staying Focused with a Distractions List

 I just discovered the use of a "distraction list", and I am blown away at how effective it is!  

A distraction list is kind of like the opposite of a to-do list, but not quite. Instead of a list of things TO do, it's a list of things not to do NOW, but to do LATER. 

It's designed to help with focus, improve productivity, and reduce multi-tasking. (As a life-long multi-tasker, I've come to agree with experts that doing several things at once isn't as effective as we tell ourselves!)

Here's how it works: 

When you sit down to start working on a project, or set out to work on your to-do list, keep a small pad of paper with you. When you find yourself getting distracted, mentally thinking about "x", or physically pulled away to work on "y", instead write those x and y tasks on your pad of paper, and return to working on the original task at hand. Continue to jot down thoughts or tasks that threaten your ability to complete the work in front of you. This keeps you focused on the tasks you set out to do, while making sure the stuff you think of along the way gets attention, too. Those distractions no longer just live in your head. They're down on paper, for you to accomplish at a later time. But the #1 goal here is that you don't allow them to derail you from finishing that which you set out to accomplish in the first place. 

I use my distraction pad EVERYWHERE - when I'm working, when I'm cooking or cleaning, when I'm working out, even when I'm relaxing with a book in front of the fire. I find it REALLY keeps me on track, and I don't fret about forgetting to do "x", because I've jotted it down on my list. 

The first day I tried it, my list of distractions was hilarious; I couldn't believe the stuff that came into my head and very nearly knocked me off track. I find that "call x" (be it a doctor, plumber, etc.) often finds its way onto my distraction list, as does "clean the..." and "buy [insert item here]".  

Now - I'm going to be honest. When I sat down to write this post, I didn't have my distraction list in front of me. So I got up to get it from the other side of the kitchen, and I saw the box of supplements that had just arrived via FedEx. I hadn't even noticed that my husband had opened it (soooo focused!), but I ended up taking everything out when I saw my vitamin D drops inside. I then poured myself a cup of tea so I could take them, then arranged the rest of the bottles to snap an Instagram-worthy photo of everything to send to Deirdre, for whom they're intended. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Distracted, much?!

So - my advice - beyond using a distraction list in the first place, is to make sure you have it with you as you begin working. Distractions are waiting for you at every turn!

Here are two great articles about using a distractions list - here and here. Enjoy! 


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