Ahh, life can sometimes be full of distractions, am I right? Each and every one of us would probably easily be able to come up with our own list of ways to get off track and lose focus… SQUIRREL! Familiar with the concept? I think each of us has some acquaintance with it. Now, when I talk about distractions, I am not referring to micro distractions such as browsing the internet or checking your email too much. Those can certainly be time killers and are able to derail your tasks on a day-to-day basis, but what really kills us is when we get sidetracked from keeping our eyes on the long-term goal. Your list may be somewhat different than mine, but I found it extremely helpful to go through the process of identifying the ways I get distracted the most. Once I become aware of the culprits, I can learn to avoid them like landmines the next time they try to take me down.
LOW PRIORITY PROJECTS
Sometimes we just want to feel that we are accomplishing something, so we go for the low-hanging fruit. This is especially true, in my experience, if the goal is way out there…like years away. While my eyes glaze over thinking of how far away that reality may be, my brain says “Here is a nice little project that can be tackled in a week. It may not help you get to where you are trying to go, but won’t it look so nice with a big check by it so you can say it is done?” I am total a sucker for that check mark.
This one is troublesome because it is very much within our power to choose otherwise. The type of stress to which I am referring is the kind we take on ourselves. There is the physical stress we pile on by eating junk, sleeping inconsistently and failing to exercise. Then there is the mental stress caused by taking on too much work, not staying organized and then feeling overwhelmed by everything. At best, all of this stress keeps us from operating at our peak energy, and at worst, knocks us out of performing at all because we get sick – neither of which is helpful in making large strides in the right direction.
OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE NOT ON THE GOAL PATH
Personally, this the slyest of distractions. Like myself, you are probably presented with promising opportunities on a regular basis. Some of them are really, really hard not to want to chase down. For example, last year I was considerably sidetracked with the idea of real estate investing. After some time, I realized that, although real estate may be something I want to pursue later on, for now it would only take me off the path of reaching my goal to build a custom software company that helps other business owners take theirs to the next level.
So, this is my list of likely distractions, but what about you? Which of these are relevant to you? To which other ones might you be more susceptible? Simply being aware of possible diversions can make a big difference. Now quit chasing squirrels, and get after those goals!