Unbusy Your Life | Episode 12 | Becoming Undistractable

Welcome to Episode 12 of Unbusy Your Life!

As entrepreneurial moms working from home, we got to create a schedule that worked great for our lives. We created a schedule that works in tandem with our kids, our partners and our businesses. But then Covid-19 happened and all of the humans are now at home with us. We have been plagued with distraction. So many of my clients have expressed this to me so I thought it would be great to talk about on the podcast. In this episode we are going to make your mind stronger and more powerful through the process of becoming undistractable. Let’s dive in!

Listen to the full episode here.

At my gym, we used to have this workout that all of us dreaded. It was called “Unbreakable”. It was awful but it was designed to make us stronger and more powerful. Becoming undistractable is the same exact thing but for your mind. We’re going to make your mind stronger and more powerful through the process of becoming undistractable. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to teach you about distractions in this episode, which is why the title is called “Becoming Undistractable.” Here’s why it was so important to me to create the right title for this episode. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for any length of time, you know that I’m teaching you that what you get done in your hours is mostly determined by who you are in those hours, not about the number of hours that you have.

I genuinely still believe it to be true, that if you only had your magic hours scheduled into your daily routine, that you would still be highly productive and probably get as much done in those couple of hours per day as most people get done in an entire day. Now, if you don’t know what magic time is or you need a refresher on that, you can just go back to episode number 10 where I talked to you all about that and three other types of time that I’d like you to consider scheduling into your week. So today I want to help you take control over your distractions. And the first thing I want to teach you is that your distractions are not outside of you. I’ve been watching a lot of Marvel movies lately because I have a 10 year old son, and this is just what he’s into. So when I think about being undistractible, I feel like that could really be a super power, the power to focus and to stay on task regardless of what else is happening in the world and in our environment.

But the amazing thing about it is that unlike the superheroes in the movies, we all as humans have the ability to create the super power for ourselves. And here’s why: Kids are not distracting. Husbands are not distracting. The news is not distracting. But do you know what is distracting? Brains. It turns out that your brain is the problem here, but the most amazing news is that it’s also the solution. So today I’m going to teach you how to use your brain to be the solution to your distractions so that you can become undistractable. So let’s dive in.

First, let’s define what distraction actually is.

Distracting is what you do when your attention and your focus goes away from what you want to be doing or focusing on or you should be paying attention to. So it is an action that you do, but it’s an internal action. It occurs inside your mind. Where your focus is, is determined by what sentences are in your brain in the moment, what thoughts you’re thinking. That’s what focuses your attention on something. Now, distraction could also be a feeling like if you’ve said to yourself, “I felt distracted all day” or “I’m feeling really distracted.” If you are experiencing it as a feeling, it’s still an inside job because feelings are triggered from sentences in our mind and then move outward to the body. So distraction is actually completely within your control. You are actually 100% responsible for either the feeling of distraction or the act of distraction.

We have this joke in our house with my son Lincoln. He is so easily distracted because his attention and focus wanders and we tease him all the time about it. We use the word squirrel every time his focus or attention goes somewhere else. Now I know that what’s happening is that he isn’t holding a thought or a sentence in his mind that’s going to keep him focused on the thing in front of him, like his math homework. He’s easily distracted from his math homework because he’s not enjoying it. And so it’s easy for him to redirect his brain to something else that is maybe more interesting in the moment than the math homework. We do this as humans too. So distractions are not the kids, they’re not your phone. They are your brain. What your thoughts are directed at and focused on.

So I want to make an important point here because I hear this come up so often with my clients lately. They’re telling me about the fact that the kids are coming into their office or into their workspace, or maybe hubby is home and he’s coming into the office or the workspace when they haven’t expected it. What I hear is that the humans are distracting. But here’s what I want you to consider. When your kids come into your office, do you want to be focusing your attention on them? Now maybe they come in with some homework problem. Maybe they come in with something else happening in the house that they need your help with. I want you to really get honest with yourself and decide, “Do I want to be paying attention to my child when he comes in my office?” If the answer is yes, then what I want you to know is that you’re not distracting because you’re consciously choosing to pay attention to your child in that moment. I think this is a really important distinction because we have blamed our kids and our husband and everything else outside of us for our distraction. They are not responsible for that.

WE are responsible for it because we can decide to focus our attention and our brain on them or not. As a human, we have the ability to make that choice. And that’s actually one of the gifts of being a human is the agency to choose in every single moment where our attention and focus is at. So I wanted to point that out because I feel like so many of us feel like we’re out of control because we can’t control the humans. What I want you to know is you don’t have to control the humans. All you need to do is get really good at controlling you and your mind about the humans in your environment. So that’s the first very important point. If you don’t take anything else away from this podcast, please take away the fact that you are actually 100% in the driver’s seat of distractions because they are in your mind. They are not outside of you.

So how do we become undistractable?

Now that you know what distraction really is, I’m going to give you a process to becoming undistractable. Really what this is is the process of mind management. Now, some of you are probably going to tell me that you don’t have time for this. What I want to offer to you is that I don’t think you have time not to do it. This is the thing that’s going to help you accomplish so much more in such a small amount of time. When you finally take control of your brain, it changes everything in how productive you are and what you get done in your time.

Now I want to give you a quick example of being undistractable and what that looks like in action in one way. You’ve all done this before so you know what it’s like to be undistractable. So, your husband comes home or maybe your kids come home from school and they want to tell you a story, but your brain is focused on something that you’re doing in your business. Maybe some problem you’re trying to solve or something you’re really excited about. Your attention is not focused on the words they’re saying to you. It’s in your own mind thinking about this thing. You realize at some point that you have not heard one word that they said, right? So you have chosen in that moment to focus in on the thing that you have going on in your brain and not focus on your child or your husband and the story that they’re telling you. So you have done this before. You have been undistractable before, and that is just the perfect example I want to give you of how this is all in your mind.

If it really was outside of you, if it was the kids and the husband, you wouldn’t have the ability to not focus on what they’re saying and be in your own mind. Okay? So the first step of becoming undistractable is gaining awareness over your distracting thoughts. Now, the best way to do this that I know of is that when you see yourself distracted when you’re focusing on something else other than what you want to be, ask yourself why. You should have plenty of situations in your day that will help you find this and the answer is always going to be what is happening in your mind. Okay? There’s going to be sentences in your mind or something that you’re thinking that is pulling your attention away from the work that you really want to be focusing on to something in your phone or to what the kids are doing or what’s happening in the neighborhood outside.

Now, here are examples of a few of the sentences that I have caught for myself lately. When I’m noticing that my brain is wanting to shift focus and I want to redirect it:

  • “He shouldn’t come into my office.”
  • “He interrupts me constantly and I can’t get anything done.”
  • “I don’t have time to help him every five minutes.”

As long as I allow these sentences to run around in my brain, that’s what I’m focusing on instead of focusing on the work that I want to be doing. When we do this, it’s like this hamster wheel that we get on. We end up wasting way more time that is needed because these distracting thoughts are running around in our brain. That is really the true distraction, this cyclone of distracting thoughts that we indulge in. Then also what happens is when we focus on what we aren’t getting done, it just wastes time and mental energy because our focus isn’t on what we’re trying to get done. It’s on what we’re not getting done. So just by the nature of that, we get less done. Once you have awareness over what your distracting thoughts are, you’re going to be able to spot them so easily. This is really the trick because once you spot them, you’ve brought them from your subconscious brain to your conscious brain, you get to make a conscious choice to keep them or to change them. That is really the power that you have as a human is to choose thinking on purpose. What I want to offer to you is that you can choose thinking that is going to serve you and help you through this Covid situation that we’re all experiencing.

I want to give you just a few examples of thoughts that I’ve been using lately that have really helped me.

  • “This will only take a minute and then I can get back to work.”
  • “I love that I get to help him and do my work.”
  • “I only have to focus on one thing at a time.”

That last one, the idea that you only have to focus on one thing at a time has really been a game changer for me. I believe it to be true and it creates a level of focus for me. So when I am working with my son and helping him with his math or his reading, I can just focus on him. I can let all of the thoughts that are trying to flood my brain about what I should be doing in my business to just sit by the sideline and just direct my focus, pay attention to him and help him with his thing. Then when I’m done with that, I can go back to my work and all I need to do is focus on is the work in front of me.

I don’t have to worry about my son in that moment. I get to direct my brain to complete laser focus on the thing that I want to be doing in that moment. This is really the trick, right? Redirecting your brain to where you want your focus to be. Wherever it is is where your energy is going to be directed.

I also love this idea of trying to hold one sentence at a time in your mind instead of having one sentence kind of at the forefront, but then having all of these sentences kind of running around in the background that you’re still paying a little bit of attention to. They’re a little bit like an irritant, like gnats running around, if you know what I mean. Just see if you can hold that main sentence in your mind. See if you can just pay most attention to that one sentence in your mind.

“All I have to do is help him with his homework right now.”

“All I have to do is get back to work and record this podcast.”

These sentences are so freeing when you think about it in that way. This process of becoming undistractable is the process of being able to hold a thought or sentence in your mind that you chose on purpose that creates a feeling of focus for you. It’s also the process of redirecting your brain back to what you want to be focusing on when you notice a new sentence came into your brain and is trying to pull your attention towards something else.

What I want to tell you is that this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a skill that you have to practice to get really good at just like any other skill. It like when you first started marketing your business online, you probably didn’t have a fully developed masterful skillset about that, right? But the more you did it, the more you practiced it, the better you became at it. So getting really good at this skill of becoming undistractable takes practice. You have to do it to get really good at it.

One thing I want to offer up to you is maybe you start with really small amounts of time where you’re practicing this. Maybe it’s 10 to 15 minutes every hour. Can you set aside 10 to 15 minutes in an hour and laser focus your brain on one thing? Can you focus intently holding that sentence in your mind that you’re conscious too, that helps you create the focus and stay focused for that entire 10 or 15 minute period?

Now, what I want to offer to you is if you’re able to only do that, let’s say for 10 to 15 minutes every hour, you’re going to get so much more done than if you spent a whole half hour and your brain is darting back and forth between 10 different things in that half hour. So this is really a skill that will help you get more done in very small amounts of time.

The last point that I want to make here in this podcast episode, is to remind you that the focus that you want to have is not on the amount of time that you’re spending doing your work or the hours that you’re working, it’s on the results that you’re creating in your time. So be results oriented in terms of “In this 10 to 15 minutes, what can I create? Can I create the outline for this podcast episode?

Can I create the outline for this email? What can I create in this 10 to 15 minute period of time and stay laser focused doing it?”

Now, a story to prove that this is possible:

When I first signed up for my master coach training we had 30 days to create a new idea, develop a 10 minute presentation, and then be ready to present when we came to the in-person portion of our training So we all did that and of course we spent lots of time, right? Because we had lots of time. We had 30 days to develop this whole thing. Well then while we were at in-person training, we were given the same exact assignment, but we were given less than 24 hours to create an entirely new idea and a presentation on it.

I remember thinking, “This is going to be impossible.” That was my first thought. Then I questioned myself on that because that’s exactly what I teach and what I’ve figured out for myself is that it’s not the amount of time, it’s the results that I create in the amount of time. So I couldn’t change that I only had 24 hours to create this, but what I could change is the way that I was thinking about it and I decided to laser focus in on this one problem and do you know what happened? I created an entirely new idea for my business. It’s my Productivity IQ Quiz. Not only did I create that idea and fully vet it out, but I had the presentation done and it only took me less than an hour.

That was true for every single person that was in the training. The ideas that we came up with and the presentations that we made in that smaller amount of time were such higher quality, more amazing presentations and ideas than what we had come up with in the 30 days that we had.

I just tell you this story, to reiterate, the idea that the amount of time is so much less important than what it is that you’re creating in the time that you’re spending. So be results-oriented in your time.

So if you’re interested in taking the quiz to get your productivity IQ, it’s a great place to see where you are in terms of your overall productivity and gives you a place to start as you’re moving along your journey to becoming more productive and unbusy your life. If you want to go take that, go ahead and visit www.neilwilliams.com/quiz and you’ll be able to access it right there.

If you are loving what you’re learning on this podcast, please subscribe, rate and review it by clicking here. Have an amazing, unbusy, undistractable week, everybody, I’ll talk to you next time. In the meantime, connect with me over on Facebook and Instagram!

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