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Houston, TX


4 tips for the easily distracted.

Mark Junkans


I am the type of person who is easily distracted.  Put me in a room alone with a project to finish and a deadline, and I will find 100 other things to do.  I have tried everything from working in coffee shops, turning off the internet connection on my computer, keeping a task list in front of me, etc. but nothing seems to work... except a last minute deadline.  I can procrastinate until the last minute, but when there is an important deadline that is quickly looming my focus become laser-like.

There are several things that I have learned to do to cope with this tendency.

1.  Work through my task list with a timer.  In other words, when I have several things to do, I give each task a time limit.  This keeps my attention focused on the ONE THING I have to get done within the next 5 minutes.  I create an artificial sense of urgency in order to make my mind behave.

2.  Ignore incoming emails, tweets, etc. while working on tasks.  There is nothing more debilitating to an ADD person like my than the constant barrage of emails and social media messages.  Whenever I hear the beep, or see the pop-up that I received a new message, my attention gets diverted and my mouse clicks to see what shiny object might be waiting there in my inbox.  Don't become sabotaged by the tyranny of immediate gratification.

3.  Allow myself times of unadulterated chaos.  There are certain character traits that I possess that thrive in chaos.  My mind is able to process quickly and is actually stimulated by a dynamic situation.  Sometimes I get a lot of things done in this scenario, but I can't live there all the time.  Instead of self-flagellation about loving chaos, I make sure that I have ample opportunity to go there.

4.  Tell key individuals what I'm working on.  I try to let certain people know what I'm working on and when I expect to finish.  Even though I don't necessarily report to them, this simple act of sharing what I'm trying to do allows them to hold me somewhat accountable.

Now that I've finished this list, let me get back to what I was supposed to be working on before becoming distracted with my blog.