Paul Hargreaves: Beware distractions that can thwart Purpose
Last week I talked about the importance of clearly knowing your purpose in your life, both work and personal, and then ensuring that you carve out enough time to focus on that purpose. Some of us may not yet know what the main purpose of our lives should be, but there are probably more who know but are distracted away from it. This week I want to look at some of these distractions and give a few tips I have found useful to stay on course.
We talked about social media last week and the insecurity it can create. Now I love social media and use it myself in my own personal marketing, but if I am focussing on something important I either switch my phone into airplane mode or put it outside the room. Recently I have turned off all my phone notifications bar text messages and would encourage you to do the same. Then you are in control of your time on social media rather than it distracting you constantly and stopping you being effective in doing what you are doing.
Many people seem to have stopped using their phone for their original purpose of actually talking to other people, but for those who still receive voice calls these can be a distraction too. You don’t have to answer it. If the call is important then whoever it is will leave a voicemail. And then you are in control of when you call them back. I certainly never answer a number that doesn’t show a name in my phonebook. I have had the same mobile number for 30 years and given away 1000s of business cards over the years. Too many people have my number! If the call is important, they will leave a message.
Finally, and possibly the big one for many of us. E-mail. There is an assumption that e-mails must be replied to immediately. They don’t. I realised a few years ago that on the days I only have two or three opportunities to check e-mails due to being on the road, I was as effective in dealing with that part of my work life as when sitting at my desk all day. So now, on the days I am working at my desk in the office or home, I turn off Outlook and only look at and reply to e-mails twice or three times a day. Now the interesting thing was that because I knew I was adopting that strategy, it meant that I gave enough information for the recipient of the message to be able to do what I was asking them to do. None of those endless short replies to mails, which interrupt the whole day and stop you being effective and focussing on what you want and should be doing.
Being distracting away from our purpose creates a sense of unfulfillment and I highly recommend putting into place some of the strategies I have talked about here. The same is true in your time at home. Turn technology off and give special time to your loved ones and to yourselves. You will be happier as a result.