With the internet, social media, smartphones, laptops, etc. and now the news, distracting us throughout our day, how do we even manage to get anything done? Marilyn Trent, president of Trent Creative, went on a quest to find ways to stay on track and be productive. Here’s how she met the distraction challenge:
First, I realized I needed to break three habits:
- Obsessively checking my emails and project updates throughout the workday,
- Checking the latest new, and;
- Getting lost in the social media world.
These things divided my attention at work and began to swallow my time at home. I went from one thing to another online and offline as I ran my agency. Often, I found my brain overloaded with information and requests. I was only getting parts of tasks accomplished and I felt overwhelmed. And that, according to author Nicolas Carr, is the whole point; “The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention.”
In his book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Carr points out that even as adults our brains are very malleable, “adapt at the cellular level to whatever we happen to be doing.” The more time we spend in the minefield of distractions that is the internet, the more likely it is to affect us offline. His book isn’t a prophecy of gloom and doom for the digital age though, it’s an important reminder that getting away from the internet is more than just turning off your computer.
After reading articles and doing some research I have found seven things that have helped me regain focus, be much more productive, lower my stress level and gain a sense of calmness.
- Before the work day is over, review my next day–to see my check marks for that day and create my list for the following day
- Check emails in order of importance–putting aside the ones that can be taken care of later
- Make a list of only 3-4 items that I know I can accomplish in one day–putting aside blocks of time to realistically get a task done.
- Exercise at least 4 times a week (to do something for myself)
- Read a chosen book every night and finish it before starting another one
- Practice meditation or prayer to calm my mind and work on inner peace
- Remember to breath deep when you feel your brain is getting overloaded—it’s helps you hit the reset button.
Has this worked? When I can do it; yes, it does. Ultimately, it is like everything in life, each of us has to decide what is too much.
For the full article with a list of resources, visit the Insights blog on Marilyn Trent’s website: http://trentcreative.com/insights. Here you’ll also find her 25th anniversary series, “25 LESSONS LEARNED IN 25 YEARS — Confessions of an Accidental Entrepreneur.”
Trent Creative, a WBENC Certified Woman Owned Business founded by Marilyn Trent in 1992, provides strategic design to move brands forward with the best digital, print and broadcast marketing solutions.