My little book of distractions


There is no question that advertisers and social media generators are perfecting the art of getting our attention.  Personally, I can never just read one BuzzFeed list.  

I consider myself a recreational user of marketing with technology.  During a casual conversation, a term was used that needed no explanation - "Link Bait".  As I review "news" stories, I recognize this scandalous method and yet, I still want to click on the link. After all, I can't be in the dark about the hot or not list of the '90s heartthrobs. 

Then there are the daily distractions of your e-mail inbox.  No one can plan how many e-mails, their length and their level of required attention that will populate this enigmatic box.

When I follow my own rules regarding my e-mail inbox, I am much happier at work and get much more done. (See Why it's a bad idea to always have your e-mail open)

Then there is the new animal in the workplace - social media.  There are pros to using social media.  I have gotten business inquires through my personal Facebook page.  I get private messages from friends and family who contact me about creating a will or they want to know if they can refer someone to me.  I also use Facebook to connect with other attorneys, to stay in touch, ask for mentorship or schedule coffee.  

Now then (ahem), I have gone on and gotten distracted; this was not to be a post about how to use Facebook to generate business.

Sometimes distractions are sought out as a way to procrastinate, but I would estimate that most people don't even see them coming.  We must, therefore, be "on guard" against distractions big and small.

I am going to share an idea I have used recently to stand guard against the distractors.  It is a blank, pocket-sized journal.  This is where my distractions get written down.  It is essentially a promise to myself that I will not forget to do what just popped into my mind, but I am not going to do it now.

An example:  I sit down to draft a will.  Enter mental distraction - forgot to call my mom back.  In the distraction book - "call mom".  Continue drafting.  Enter mental distraction - follow-up with prospective client on will.  In the distraction book - "call Jenny".  Continue drafting.  Enter mental distraction - I'm almost done, I can finish later and return my phone calls now because . . . (sigh) mental cheerleader - get this done first.  In the distraction book "call Bob back first".

You get the idea.  Now, once you have things in your book, don't forget to do something with them.  If they don't need to be done that day, calendar it in for later in the week or whenever the timing is appropriate.  Then cross off what you wrote down because you have put the information in a place where you won't forget to do it.  

Time to celebrate!  You stayed focused and got the project done that you needed to, and you didn't succumb to distractions.

5 stars!