The distractions that steal our life from us: 5 strategies to get rid of them

Hutchinson's law he states that "if a problem requires maximum concentration, an irresistible distraction will appear simultaneously." Surely, in a world as chaotic and full of information as we do today, one of our main enemies is distractions. We are constantly bombarded with hundreds of stimuli, so it's very easy to get distracted. Of all the junk information, the hardest thing is to stay focused and not waste precious time - in fact, we've long since forgotten what it means to be truly focused and forget the outside world. That state of mind in which we are so engrossed in what we are doing that the world disappears. The responsibility for this lies largely with technology, as we ourselves force ourselves to always be waiting for a call or message, so we have learned to live by fragmenting our attention. But what might seem like an advantage actually ends up presenting us with a very steep bill. “The idiots act absent-mindedly. The wise man jealously cultivates his attention as if it were his most precious treasure ”. With this sentence, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) wanted to highlight the value of attention and that being fully present is the only guarantee of living here and now. However, we have gotten used to living somewhere between the past and the future, ignoring the present, because we spend every minute in a sort of "attentional limbo". attentional limbo it is just a state of mind in which we are not really active, but not relaxed either. We are not really enjoying the company of those we love, nor are we fully focused on the movie we are seeing or the book we are reading. As a result, we fail to do anything well, but we get so tired. So we usually come home very tired in the evening, as if something or someone has robbed us of all our energy. But the real culprit is ourselves.To understand this concept better, just think that throughout the day our attention behaves like a straight line, when in reality it should be a line with its ups and downs. In fact, to get rid of the attentional limbo that robs us of our energy, it is necessary to alternate moments of absolute concentration with moments of absolute rest. Only in this way can we get out of this limbo and become not only more productive but also less tired, and it is not simply about achieving goals and being more effective, but also about living more fully. When we get rid of worries and focus on the here and now, we can fully enjoy life.

How to focus on what really matters?

1. Find out what your bad habits are. We enter attentional limbo brought about by our bad habits, even if we don't realize it. However, our daily life is full of patterns that repeat themselves over and over again, such as: we continually check our mobile phone, check social networks several times, spend too much time chatting with colleagues during working hours or go to home work in the form of worries that prevent us from enjoying our family. All of these habits not only steal your time, but energy as well, so the first step is to identify them and then replace them with more effective habits that can truly improve your life.
2. Applica la Stress-Recovery Routine. It is about creating that concentration and relaxation curve that allows you to alternate periods of full attention with phases of total rest. In fact, people who have applied this routine claim to be more productive and get less tired at the end of the day. In this regard, the periods of complete rest are used to recharge the batteries and also for our unconscious to generate new ideas. How to get it? First, determine a clear goal. For example, it doesn't mean that you need to add more pressure, but simply be objective and propose what you want to accomplish in the next couple of hours. This goal will become a point of reference in your mind and help you stay focused.Second, use a timer. One of the risks of being too focused is to ignore the rest and keep working. Therefore, it is recommended to use a timer to know when it is time to take a break. At that point, the most important thing is to try to completely disconnect from what you were doing.
3. Control distractions, don't let them control you. You will soon realize that alternating moments of maximum productivity with phases of absolute rest will revolutionize your days. But you will also notice that it will be difficult to maintain that rhythm, because throughout the day numerous stimuli will always try to get your attention. Therefore, it is important to take care to eliminate all factors that can distract you and reduce your productivity - for example, if you are in a family, you can turn off your phone and if you are at work, you can disconnect from the Internet. At the same time, it is advisable that you apply the two-minute rule: if an unexpected task can be done in two minutes, do it now, if it takes longer put it on your to-do list.
4. Use an emotional detonator. There are good days and some bad days. There are days when you feel you can cope with anything, but there are others when you don't even have the strength to think and it is therefore more difficult for you to maintain willpower. In any case, since fighting distractions is essential to persevere, a good idea to stay motivated is to use an emotional detonator. A trigger is something that generates the flashback of a person. situation we have experienced in the past. Each person has different triggers within them, it can be sounds, smells, images or tastes. What happens in this case is that our brain has created a strong link between the sensation we experience and the trigger element. Therefore, it is desirable to generate detonating elements of a more positive mood. For example, you can start the day by reading a motivational phrase that has great meaning for you, or listening to a song that fills you with energy. It's about identifying what motivates you and gives you strength.
5. Practice mindfulness. Few things can help you stay focused and away from distractions like mindfulness meditation. In fact, a study conducted at the University of California revealed that after just two weeks of meditation people's ability to concentrate and short-term memory improve qualitatively. This result is not surprising when you consider that meditation is basically learning to focus your thought on an object or idea, and this practice causes lasting changes in the brain. Another research conducted at Harvard University revealed that mindfulness meditation can affect certain structures in the brain. After eight weeks of practice, positive changes were found in the hippocampus, a structure that manages learning and memory, as well as decreased activity in the amygdala, the area responsible for fear, anxiety and stress. Another study conducted at Yale University found that meditation decreases the activity of the default network in the brain, the one that jumps from topic to topic and triggers worries. Therefore, mindfulness meditation is a great tool for eliminating distractions and learning to focus on what really matters.
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