Real Life Scenario #10 –  “My obstacles are mental distractions. I think of something other than the original task, and lose focus quickly.”

If you’ve been following my posts this month – you know that I’m tackling real life time management scenarios all month long.  If you have missed a previous post – be sure to check out any that apply to YOUR life.

  • “This may sound ridiculous, but I’m so busy, I don’t even have time to read about time management techniques, let alone practice them.”
  • “I’ll look into streamlining my schedule a few weeks from now when I have a little more time.”
  • “When I’m trying to reach a goal, I track my progress on notes of paper that I keep all over the house, and my system is taking me more time than it saves me.”
  • “I want to take steps to use my time better, but I when I slip up I get down on myself.  It’s hard to keep putting the effort in.”
  •  “I’m working hard to use my time better and make progress towards my goals, but it’s sort of a lonely process, and I think it would be more inspiring if I had people encouraging me and noticing the small successes.”
  • “I have a great idea, but I don’t know where to start, and the project is floundering. I will probably give it up and just keep on with my regular routine.”
  • “I set my goal and detailed my daily action steps, but the demands of the day always take precedence and real progress continues to elude me.”
  • “I feel that I must read newspapers before I can recycle them.  I don’t put my subscription on hold when I go out of town.  So then I have a ton of papers to go through when I get back, along with the new ones.  I feel that I might be missing something that I should or would want to know about.  Then I feel that I can’t read other material such as books or newsletters that I would like to read.  I know logically that there isn’t enough time in a day or a month (or longer) to read everything that I would like to read – so much to read & not enough time.”
  • “I’ve heard about the 80/20 Rule, but I’m not sure how I can apply that to my daily life more productive.”

Recently a client confided in me, “Lisa, if I could just apply the same focus throughout the day that I apply when I’m working one-on-one with clients – I can’t even imagine all I could accomplish.”

Through further discussion, we discovered the he was usually derailed by “thoughts in his own head”.  One of the strategies I recommend to minimize internal distractions is to use a parking lot.  (This is one of my favorite strategies – and I’ve written a few posts which you can check out here.)

In this case, he was already using the parking lot strategy pretty consistently.  So after a bit more discussion – we discovered that his brain was tired.  He had blocked time to complete a number of “thinking” tasks – and after a chunk of time had passed – he found it tougher to concentrate.

His solution, to set a timer at the top of the hour to remind him to leave the computer, walk around his office, drink some water, stretch, relax.  Basically – take a break – refresh his brain – and his body – then get back to work.

By being able to “mentally reset” his brain, he is now able to focus easier and reduce the number of internal distractions.

photo courtesy of njaj /

Your turn!  What is your strategy for overcoming internal distrations?  Where do you find support?  Please share!

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