Using a Distraction Journal to Be More Productive
Here’s a fact you might not be ready to hear: You crave distraction. It’s not that your phone is filled with apps and they are irresistible; rather, it’s you who keeps fidgeting because, well, you have gotten used to being on your phone and when you’re not, you can’t focus.
Now that you know you seek out distraction yourself, it’s time to set things right and work less distracted. Did you know a journal can actually help you do this?
The Start is Always the Hardest
As you start a new project, your excitement mixes with your apprehension. You can’t wait to see the finished product or task, but you’re also worried it might not look as good as it did in your head. You may procrastinate and go shopping for face toners or other skincare products online. You may list all the things you think you need before you can really get started. Steel yourself. Sit down and start. There’s no other way to do it. But if you feel the distraction coming on, remember: If you can do it in two minutes or less, just do it. There’s no need to deny yourself a quick peek at your social media accounts, as long as you’re aware that you’re doing it. Once you’ve gotten it out of the way, you can start on your task.
But Keeping Focused is Hard
You can get a project going, but not many people can sit through it without a break and without losing it. It’s okay to take breaks for the essentials–eating, resting your eyes, taking a walk, or even napping. However, if you take frequent breaks just to tend to other things, that’s when you need to take out your distraction journal. When you’re in the middle of a task and you remember something else that needs to be done, don’t jump to that task immediately. You will end up with a chaotic process and potentially nothing finished. Write down that task on your distraction journal so that you will not forget about it, and you’ll appease that little part of your brain that wants you to do it soon.
Self-awareness is Key
Your distraction journal has another purpose other than being a place where you collect pending tasks, which you should get to soon. It can also give you a glimpse into your habits and why you have those habits. For instance, you can categorize the kinds of distractions you have, and count how many instances of that distraction you had for a given day. There may be times when you pick up your phone just because, and that could be under the category “fidgeting.” Now, see how many times you just want to fidget with your phone even though there’s really nothing pressing on it. You might be surprised.
It is hard getting things done. You should be proud of yourself for getting to the finish line for every task you’ve had so far. And for those you’ve started and haven’t finished yet, it’s time to get your distraction journal out and stop fidgeting.