Baseball great Yogi Berra famously reminded us that baseball is “90 percent mental.” His sage advice, though, applies to more than the thinking man’s game.
Productivity is also a mental game, and if you want to eliminate distractions and get into your optimal working zone, you must give yourself a mental tune-up of sorts so that you’re in the right frame of mind.
It’s not an exact measurement; rather, it should illustrate the point that a large part of getting rid of distractions starts in the head. It’s about building a mindset of achievement, and there are several major steps you can take to keep yourself there.
The first step is preparation, though not in the sense you might be thinking. You might already be in the habit of mapping out your day.
Perhaps you use an online time clock like Clockspot to help schedule what periods you should be working on which projects, and to help you stay on task. It’s a good idea, but you should also be prepared for times when things won’t go your way.
“The best-laid plans,” they say, “often go awry.”
If you allow yourself to prepare for the unexpected failures, they can’t surprise you, they won’t distract you, and you’ll be able to maintain your stride in spite of them.
Conversely, you should also be prepared to capitalize on unexpected time opening up in your schedule.
Let’s say you had a meeting to discuss that new fundraiser website your team is looking at to raise money for your next project. It gets canceled.
Do you lament about it? Stress? Or are you prepared for the scenario and ready to seamlessly shift into some other work you could be doing? When you lay the options out like that, the right choice seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?
Take It Down A Notch
Now, we’re not saying to refrain from staying focused or intense about your goals. You should absolutely do both.
At the same time, however, you have to remember to stay in the moment and try to slow down. When you rush, worry about everything that you have to do all at once, or try to force your way through the day, you’re more likely to make errors, and more likely to have your attention wander.
A better strategy is to stay in the moment and combat the stress of distractions with a reflective pause that allows you to maintain control of the situation.
Stop, take a deep breath, and tackle things one step at a time.
You’ll notice your concentration improve and your energy increase. With the constant distractions of the future shifted to the background, you can put more into what you have to do right here and now.
At the same time, you should refrain from dredging up past failures that could keep you from concentrating on present opportunities. If it happened in the past, leave it there. You made a mistake, you learned from it, time to move on.
Recharge Your Batteries
Last, but not least, is taking time out to do nothing. If you run yourself ragged, you won’t have an ounce of will left to resist distractions or stay in a productive mindset.
Make sure that you take breaks at regular intervals, eat properly, get plenty of sleep, and exercise when you can. Recharging your batteries goes a long way towards keeping you prepared to face the day’s challenges.