Thoughts On… 6 game-changing buffers to distraction

by Devin D. Marks
Founder |

Quick question for you:

“When was the last time that you sat alone with no distractions?”

When did you last toss aside the phone, click out of Netflix, close the dooror better yet, step out for a walk away from it all? Just you and your thoughts. (And here’s the kicker: For an extended period of time.)

If you are like most people, it’s been a while.  #TooLongTooLittle 

Why is that? What keeps us from sitting alone and processing? More importantly, what can we do to battle distraction?

Here are six THINKER THURSDAYS habits (or hacks) that I’ve learned to incorporate in my week:

1. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Meditative moments work. Check out this thinker’s take on meditation: ABC news anchor Dan Harris made a name for himself in this space with his best-seller 10% Happier and his related website. It is well worth 10-minutes to click-and-learn more. 

2. SILO YOUR SCHEDULE. Simply knowing what you’re doing, when and doing only that can be a game-changer. So can over-estimating how long a particular task or activity will take. Finish early? (Rare, I’ll concede.) That will buy you some unexpected deep breath time. (See #1 above. Give it ten minutes.)

3. OFFLOAD THE FRITTER WORK. Know what your time is worth on an hourly basis? (You should know that number.) Become willing to delegate some of those life tasks that busy up your schedule. Whether that’s a neighborhood teen hitting the lawn or a virtual assistant culling your inbox — save that time; then steward it: block it off; align it with some affirming and uplifting activity.

4. LET OTHERS KNOW. Informing those in your relational circle of trust what you’re doing to buffer yourself from distraction is a great step. Let your spouse, best friend, workmate, spiritual counselor know of your plans. Just this step alone is virtually guaranteed to produce encouragement and accountability.

5. USE TECHNOLOGY AS A BUFFER. Set your voicemail, slack notification, and email vacation reminder to protect your distraction free zone. Whether that’s 90-minutes or nine hours, technology can be your ally. And as we’ve noted before, you’ll likely hear from others in the form of “I so admire what you’re doing!” comments. 

6. JOIN IN, THIS THURSDAY. Consider going one step beyond the above. Instead of just a random zone of distraction-free sanity, try joining the THINKER THURSDAY tribe on a regular basis. This needn’t be a full day. Just a morning of buffered, focused, reflection would be a big step forward. Click here to learn more.

And there you have it, six simple hacks that can powerfully combine to keep distraction (a bit more) at bay.

Yes, there are others. And likely you have some of your own to SHARE BELOW. (Alternatively, please, don’t hesitate to hit REPLY or FORWARD on email.) 

Here’s to your deep breath.