Easily Distracted? Here's How to Defend Against Distractions (and Regain Focus Fast!)
Are you easily distracted? Work is chaotic and full of interruptions. But the benefits of working distraction-free are clear:
- The RIGHT distraction-free work can flood your business with more clients, higher profitability, better opportunities, and higher revenue growth (who doesn’t want higher revenues? =) )
- The RIGHT distraction-free work can achieve your goals FASTER, sooner, present a clearer future, and gather praise from everyone (“Dude, how did you do that….?!?”)
- The RIGHT distraction-free work can give you the life you desired, and the motivation and confidence to continue forward through setbacks (Ever wonder why some people are more confident than others?)
The question is “How do I eliminate those distractions?”
“Either you run the day or the day runs you”
– Jim Rohn
The Tiny Castle Technique
(The World’s Easiest Way to Eliminate Distractions)
How did a small castle in Japan withstand a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in 2016?
It might sound cliché, but the Kunamoto Castle was built on a solid foundation. A solid foundation of rocks. It’s a castle that’s so tiny, yet, it was able to withstand a major powerful distrupting earthquake.
Likewise, we must build up our “Tiny Castle” when working. When built, it’ll withstand and defend against distractions coming from others in the house. And it’ll even guard us against online distractions such as social media, websites, and more.
Over the past few years, I’ve successfully been able to work from home almost distraction-free.
This has allowed me to build up three successful businesses and spend time with my wife and daughter. I’ve also helped others become more productive at home and reach their goals.
And while some people “think” I have some natural talent to work distraction-free, I can tell you this:
Learning to work from home is not something you’re not born with. It’s a skill you have to learn. And when you have the right teacher teaching you the skills, you can learn them faster.
That’s why I’m incredibly proud to share what I call “The Tiny Castle Technique” with you today. It's for those who are easily distracted.
So you may be wondering, “How do I use the Tiny Castle Technique?”
The Simple Step-by-Step Process To Using “The Tiny Castle Technique” To Eliminate Distractions
There are three simple steps to using “The Tiny Castle Technique.”
- Step 1: Guide Your Royal Family
- Step 2: Build a Sensory Moat
- Step 3: Defend Aggressively
Let’s review each in detail.
Step 1: Guide Your Royal Family
When you’re working from home, distractions could come from people in your house, your “Royal Family.” Your “Royal Family” may include your spouse, children, or friends (even some pets). They could be distracting you with anything and everything because in their eyes, you’re NOT actually working.
Now it’s obviously hard to escape from them working from home. However, you can “guide” them so that they can become less of a distraction to you.
Here’s how to "guide" them:
- Initiate a Talk – Have a heart-to-heart with your spouse or significant other. Let them know that when you’re working, he/she will handle everything else during work hours. This ranges from people calling to people coming by.
- Time block – Schedule a time with your spouse once a week. During this time, plan all the fun activities (date nights, dinners, etc.) for the coming week first. Then, secondly, schedule in blocks for your work. The order matters here because life should come before work.
- Create rules – Have rules around your working time and communicate them clearly. Explain to your “Royal Family” when you’re working -- you’re WORKING. Despite how “busy” or relaxed you appear to be, no distractions please.
This might seem tough, but I will go through this in way more detail with my one-on-one clients. But what’s essential (and before you move onto step 2) is that you guide your royal family on your side.
Once you’ve guided your Royal Family, it’s time to move onto Step 2.
Step 2: Build A Sensory Moat
According to the Webster dictionary:
In other words, a moat separates the castle from the outside world. And it defends it against an attack.
Here’s an illustration of a moat:
This is where The Tiny Castle Technique comes into play…
Distractions often come to us through one of our senses. Luckily, the five senses and the mind are quite easy to build a moat in front of our Tiny Castle. And it'll keep us from being easily distracted.
Let's take a look in detail.
1. Vision, Hearing and Touch
Let’s say you’re working at home, and the UPS (or FedEx) delivery guy or gal comes along every day and rings the doorbell. You hear it, and run to open the door.
He walks closer to you and asks if you had a good day, where he should put the package, and if you saw the neighbors’ missing cat. Yadda yadda yadda, you get the point.
It goes without saying that this draws your attention away from your precious work time.
How do we stop distractions such as this?
We have to build a Tiny Castle Moat. A moat that blocks our vision, hearing, and touch.
For example, you can do some or all of these things:
- Vision - Get a sign that says you’re a telecommuter and work from home between 8 am and 5 pm (or whatever hours you work). Place it on your desk where people come to distract you.
- Hearing - Get earplugs or headphones and listen to your favorite work music. I like brain.fm focus tracks which provide an excellent groove to work to.
- Vision / hearing / touch - Put your phone in airplane mode and put it in a drawer. This will eliminate the notifications from apps, friends, and family.
- Vision / Hearing - Delete social media from your phone.
- Vision - Face away from the door. This will help you focus on the task at hand.
The key is creating a Tiny Castle Moat and preventing your eyes and ears to where the distractions are.
One bonus tip.
Try keeping a notepad handy. When you’re distracted, write it down. Then at the end of your workday, review to see how you can fix those visual, audio, and touch distractions.
Once you have your vision, hearing and touch distractions turned down, it’s time for tastes and smells.
2. Tastes and Smells
This is one of my favorite ways to use the moat in “The Tiny Castle Technique.”
As an example, back in my old apartment, I work exactly 6 feet away from the kitchen. The smells would get to me, and my tummy (much smaller back then) would always tempt me to go in the kitchen. Moreover, I used a Tiny Castle Moat to eliminate distractions.
I went into the kitchen and got myself a glass of water and a snack. Behind me, I closed the door of the kitchen, so smells could no longer escape. Then I placed the glass of water right beside my laptop before working.
This helped me create a Tiny Castle Moat so I didn’t have to leave. My tummy was no longer grumbling to me being hungry or thirsty. Moreover, no smells were attracting me to the kitchen (because we all know how much time we spend in the kitchen working from home).
And, finally, there’s your mind.
3. The Mind
That’s how many minutes researchers in Britain have found that the average British person has an attention span of fourteen minutes.
What’s worse is in the same group, adults watching television or looking at mobile device have an attention span of just 7 minutes. That’s 50% less while they were performing an activity.
What’s this have to do with our mind?
When we’re working, or performing an activity, random thoughts fly through our mind. It’s like standing on the sidewalk and watching cars, our thoughts, whiz on by.
While we have no control over attention span, we can have control over our thoughts. And that’s why we need to build Tiny Castle Moat to buffer our thoughts.
How can we create a Tiny Castle Moat for our mind? One such way is by practicing meditation.
Research in mindfulness, or the practice of meditation, has shown this to be hyper effective.
It’s a muscle that can be trained up starting with as little as 5 minutes a day.
Besides taking very little time to practice, mindfulness has many benefits including increased attention span, reduced stress, and increased ability to sustain attention.
Build the Tiny Castle Moat around your mind, and you’ll eliminate the distractions in your brain.
Now that we have our Tiny Castle Moat we must aggressively defend against attackers.
Step 3: Defend Aggressively
So we’ve built our Tiny Castle using the technique above. And it’s helping us block out distractions. But we all know working from home is chaotic, and there’s always distractions creeping up on us, no matter how well built our “Tiny Castle” is.
The big question is, what can we do about it?
We must control the distraction and aggressively defend our work time. Only then can we continue to focus on our work.
Here are some of the best ways to defend against distractions:
- Four-More Rule – This rule is simple. Whenever you get distracted, just do four more. It could be four more minutes, four more exercises, or write for more paragraphs to extend your focus. It helps push through the distractions, frustrations and builds mental concentration. And it just might complete the task.
- Not responding – This is a great way to apply the defense. When distractions come, you have the choice to respond, or not to respond. For example, when a Whatsapp, text, notification, or email comes in, you can either answer it now, or simply ignore it until your next break. It’s tempting to respond immediately but don’t give in. One bonus way is to put your phone on do not disturb until you finish your work.
- Creating win-win consequences - Distractions don’t necessarily have to be punishing or have negative effects. Think of ways that you can create consequences that benefit you, yes you. For example, one client told me that her wife used to bother him a lot while working at home. But now he says “If she gets close enough to me that I can touch her, I start unbuttoning her jeans, and that works great. Either she leaves me alone, or I get middle of the day sex.”. It’s a win-win consequence.
- Using a timer – Using a timer will help you focus during the time you allotted for your activities. Start a timed session when you start an activity. When the timer is up, you can take a short break, and attend to the distractions. A popular timer that is used is the Pomodoro Technique. This timer allows you to work for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break.
- Distraction-free Apps – If you really can’t stop using your phone, try digital apps to help limit the time you spend on them. Apps such as Facebook limiter, Cold Turkey, Stay on Task, App Detox, Space or Moment for tracking will help you be further productive and remain focused.
Work time is not a playground, It’s an arena of grim earnest fighting. The ways above can be easily implemented. Pick ones that works for you.
Question for you...
“The Tiny Castle Technique” is a powerful method that I will cover in with my one-on-one clients in even greater detail to make life distraction-free.
Once built, you’ll be able to withstand massive distractions.
Just like the Kunamoto Castle that withstood a 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
So what’s the one thing you can do today to start building this “Tiny Castle”?
The one thing you can do today is start very small.
What’s one “Sensory Moat” you can build for your “Tiny Castle”? Will it be vision, hearing, touch, tastes, smells or the mind?
Tell me what you plan to do in the comments below.
And if you have any questions about “The Tiny Castle Technique,” leave them there below as well.