Distractions are more than that phone call from a salesperson or the latest YouTube video. Distractions can be those everyday tasks you feel you must do but that don’t get you to where you want to be. While it may be obvious that playing a game on your phone is a distraction, it’s less obvious that your weekly routine may be what’s preventing you from having what you want.
For instance, let’s say you want to leave your full-time job but you don’t know what’s next. Many of my clients have come to me for that exact reason – they want to not only figure out but also move toward (and then enjoy) the next chapter of their careers. Or maybe it’s that you want to finish your book or start your own business.
In the case of wanting to leaving your full-time job and not knowing what is next, the distractions may simply be many of the actions you’re automatically taking. Is working overtime valuable to you or is it a deterrent? Is happy hour with your colleagues an obligation or a distraction? Is sleeping in on Saturday important enough that it trumps making time for what’s next? Is refusing to delegate responsibilities at work helping you?
Take a close look at how you’ve been doing things and the (good and bad) habits you’ve created. What is serving your desire for what’s next? And what needs to be altered so that you have the time and energy to go after what you truly want?
Cutting out some activities and habits may be easy; others will require focus on your compelling reason to make the change. Often the seemingly difficult choices fall into the areas of social, philanthropic and health. It can be hard to tell your family you’re busy on Saturday afternoon because you set aside that block of time to research career opportunities. It may be challenging to spend your lunch break working toward your goals with your career coach rather than catching up with your coworkers. It may feel like a big sacrifice to cut back on the hours you volunteer and/or your time at the gym in order to prepare job applications.
It comes down to what’s most important to you – what do you value the most – and taking action to prioritize it.
Try this experiment:
1) Take inventory of your last two weeks.
2) Assess what is necessary and what may be negotiable in your schedule.
3) Change only one aspect this next week to create a pocket of time and energy for which you can use to go after what you want.