What do you do when the solution to a problem, creates an even bigger problem?  Recently a client and I were discussing distractions.  From a time management standpoint, he felt he “could” accomplish so much more if he could just eliminate (or at least reduce) the distractions in his day.

He was able to identify two different types of distractions mental and physical.

  • Mental – the thoughts in his head that could cause him to get derailed when working on a project
  • Physical – interruptions caused by other people (email, phone calls, people dropping by . . .)

Today – we are going to delve deeper into the MENTAL distractions.

As faithful readers of this blog know, when it comes to mental distractions – I  am a HUGE believer in the Parking Lot as a solution to reduce (or possibly eliminate) this area as an interruption.  When a random idea pops into your head while you are applying diligent focus to the task at hand, jot it down onto a piece of paper.   You are “parking it” for later.  Once you finish the current task, you can then look at the items you’ve parked in the parking lot.  (Wondering what to do with these items?  Read this!)

However, what if when you write the “distracting thought” down on a piece of paper – you get distracted by all the other tasks and ideas you have already written down in the Parking Lot?

Well – that’s a situation my client was in.  The solution just added to the problem!!!

[Tweet “Help! My parking lot is distracting me!!”]
Time Management Strategy Parking Lot

One thought per note.

The idea behind the parking lot is “out of sight, out of mind”.  When you can take the distracting thought “away” you can focus.

If you find that by putting the thought on a piece of paper with a lot of other thoughts brings them ALL back into focus – then try the Post-It note / Closed Folder solution.

  • Write the distracting thought onto a Post-It note.  (Just ONE thought)
  • Put this Post-It note into a folder.
  • Do not look into the folder . . . just slide the note into it.
  • Review the Post-Its AFTER completing your task.

By putting your ONE task into a closed folder – you will not be distracted by the other items in your Parking Lot.

Important note:  It does NOT matter if your Post-It notes are placed haphazardly in the folder. (In fact, since you aren’t looking in the folder, they probably WILL be haphazard.  Once you complete your task you can organize them!

Many, many, many books exist about time management and working efficiently and effectively.  The key to success is to be able to take the information in these books and adapt them to fit your life!  Are you looking to live a life where each day is productive, rewarding, and fun?  You can!  Schedule a time to chat and figure out how!

What is your favorite “internal distraction busting strategy”?  Please post below.  AND – be sure to stop back when I delve a bit deeper into reducing external distractions.


main image provided by Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net