In today’s episode we discuss how intentionality is the key to success. For starters, 10% of 2021 has already passed. As a collective, we constantly face so many distractions, achieving our goals all comes down to our ability to focus. The distractions that we faced last year are no different than this year. In fact, Buddhism teachings share that people were even distracted thousands of years ago showing us that our minds are easily distracted based on the stimuli that is coming in.
Our ability to focus is what will help us achieve our goals. In his 1932 dystopian social science fiction novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley writes that it’s the endless noise and ability to distract yourself in any way you prefer that is going to be the downfall of society. Fast forward to present day, technology has turned distraction at the scale of internet speed, yet our brains have not yet caught up.
Innovation and time period aside, there are two forces that play against us in achieving our goals:
- Late at defining goals
- Late acting on goals once they are defined
Take a moment, do you know what your goals are for 2021? If so, what actions have you taken towards these goals?
I want to first preface that it’s okay to not have started goal planning. Rule #1: Never judge yourself for your past actions. Instead, learn from your past and begin anew.
The first step to eradicating distractions is to identify what your distractions are. Here’s how:
- Use a meditation app - Insight Timer is free, just search “mindful meditation” - and go through a guided meditation. See what thoughts come up. Write those down. How can you begin eliminating these distractions? For example, if you find yourself recounting your to do list, a simple solution would be to begin using a planner to write everything down that needs to be done.
- Check your phone app usage - Most likely, you’ve been tempted by the never-ending infinity pool that is Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, you name it. Review42.com did a study and found that the average person spends two hours and 15 minutes a day on social media. That’s ten weeks a year, approximately ten percent of the year! If you cut that usage in half, you’d have an extra five weeks of time. Just imagine what you could accomplish in that time period.
Distractions aren’t all bad. There is an evolutionary benefit to distraction: it helps alert to danger and allows you to react to changes for survival purposes. It also creates opportunities and allows you to think in more novel ways. The secret between good and bad distractions is the ability to control your distractibility. In other words, control when you want to allow stimulus and when you don’t. Limiting distractibility has to do with weeding things out of your life that do not contribute towards your goals.
This does not mean quitting cold turkey. Instead, it’s a gradual progress. Try reducing your time with that distraction by 20% every week or every couple of weeks. This will make a huge difference in your life without making it feel like you’re punishing yourself. The idea is not to eliminate the distraction all together, but to empower yourself in achieving your goals. Think work/life balance, except in this case, it’s distraction/productivity balance. Take a listen to our episode from our Perma-V series on vitality for more about building a well-rounded and balanced life.
Once you’ve identified your distractions and defined ways you will gradually phase them out, it is time to define your goals. Here is an easy three step process you can follow:
- Time block - block out time in your calendar for creating your goals. Commit to it, make sure to do it during a day and time that you won’t be distracted.
- Set quarterly goal reviews for yourself and block out time in your calendar. Review progress, see what’s working and what’s not working.
- Reassess your goals, are your goals still relevant to you today? Do you even want to accomplish these goals? Be brutally honest with yourself, make sure each goal is in alignment with what you want in life. If not, update your goals to reflect your newfound self.
Remember that the process of achieving goals and removing distractions is a lifelong pursuit. It is absolutely okay that you will get sidetracked, most important is how you bounce back and course correct to get back on your runway to achieve your goals.
Did you find this helpful? Have suggestions for topics or questions you want us to discuss on the next podcast? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Indistractable by Nir Eyal
- Social Dilemma Documentary on Netflix