Episode 41: How to Overcome Distraction and Get Focused on Your Work

Do you get easily distracted?

Do you feel restless or fidgety when you sit down to work on a task?

Have you found yourself procrastinating on your projects because you can’t get focused?

If so, I hear you.

I’ve been there, too.

And this week I am sharing with you a powerful strategy to turn that distracted restlessness into clear focus and drive.

Give it a try, and you’ll be completing your projects and moving forward in no time.

Simply listen to the podcast below or stream episode 41 from your favorite podcast app!

Prefer to read? No problem. Keep scrolling to read the transcript.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…

  • How to recognize when you’re feeling restless and distracted
  • What you can do to shift distraction into focus
  • How you can use this strategy to start taking action and getting things done

LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

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How to Overcome Distraction and Get Focused on Your Work (Transcript)

Hey friends! Welcome to episode 41 of the podcast. Thanks for joining me today.

So in this episode, we are going to talk about feeling distracted, feeling restless, feeling like you can’t focus on anything. And then we are going to explore how we can take those otherwise negative feelings and channel them into focus and energy and drive.

Now, oftentimes the topics we explore on this are inspired by messages that I receive from you listeners who are looking for a certain strategy or approach to help you handle particular challenges. 

Other times topics are inspired by things that I notice going on around me – whether on social media, or with my clients, or my friends. 

And other times I pull topics from my own experiences or discoveries or “ah-hah moments” that I think might resonate with you.

Inspiration for this Episode

And this latter category is what inspired today’s podcast. I had a few “ah-hah” moments when I was working with my coach about three weeks ago now in regard to how I can overcome distraction, and work through restlessness, and get focused on the projects that I want to get done.

And while on the surface it might seem like a pretty simple realization, it was also one that was incredibly powerful and it’s had a major impact on the way that I’ve approached my work over the last several weeks. 

And since I’ve heard that many of you are similarly feeling distractible and restless right now, I thought I would share my own experience in hopes that it will help you work through these emotions, too.

Increased Emotions

But first, I want to step back and share a general realization that I have had about us as humans over the last six or seven weeks. 

So, we have all – in one way or another – been impacted by the pandemic right now. And what I’ve found, is that whatever you were struggling with prior to COVID-19, you’re likely still struggling with now. The difference is that the challenge is now heightened. And while the circumstance may be different, when you step back, you will realize that – in most situations – the problem is still the same. And the problem has always been there.

So let me explain what I mean here.

Relationships Struggles

If you are normally a person who generally struggles with relationships in your life, then you’re probably struggling in this area even more right now. So if you normally fight with your partner or argue with your mother or feel jealous of your sister because they’re doing this thing or that thing wrong, chances are, you are finding even more reasons to feel this way now. 

Health Concerns

Or maybe you normally have concerns about your health, and even before COVID-19 you found yourself worrying about getting sick, or getting hurt. Alternatively, maybe you were already concerned about someone you love getting sick or getting hurt. 

Now that the circumstances have changed, and we are in a world with COVID-19, those same concerns – those same thoughts – are still there. But now, they are heightened. We feel even more concerned about our health or our loved one’s health.

Money Stress

Or if you often struggle with concerns about money. If you have money scarcity thoughts, or you often worry about not having enough money, those thoughts are probably stronger for you right now. 

You’re probably channeling your energy into worrying about the stock market, or your job situation, or the economy.

So again, whatever it is you were worrying about pre-COVID-19, those same concerns remain, and most likely, they are heightened now.

Lack of Concentration

Now for the first few weeks of practicing home quarantine, I found myself struggling to stay focused on one thing at a time. I found myself wanting to bounce from one idea or concept or project to the next, without ever finishing one thing. 

Now, this might sound surprising given the fact that it’s the antithesis of what I teach on this podcast, right? I mean, being focused and working on one thing at a time is usually my jam. So what’s going on?

Well, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, or we’ve worked together before, you know that it wasn’t always this way for me. In fact, the reason why I am so passionate about mindset and planning, and strategy, and finding useful tools to reach your goals, is that these were the things that challenged me for so many years. These were the things that I really struggled with, especially throughout grad school. 

And it was through all of my trial and error over several years that I finally found the strategies that worked for me, which inspired me to start sharing them with other people and ultimately start coaching and recording this podcast.

Losing Focus and Concentration

So right now, as we are in this pandemic, with different schedules and heightened emotions, I could see some of my old tendencies trying to come back. I noticed the urge to get distracted more often. I wanted to ignore the schedule I created for myself and simply chase whatever new idea popped in my mind. And I could feel this restlessness and I was tempted to let that “shiny object syndrome” start creeping back in. 

So I decided to bring this to my coach so I could get some outside perspective. Because as I’ve mentioned before, there is so much value in having someone help you sort through your thoughts and your feelings to figure out what’s going on. 

As I talked about in the last episode when we explored the strength of negative beliefs and how they hold you back, it is so helpful to have someone who can see your negative beliefs and challenge them. They have that outside perspective that we sometimes overlook when we’re stuck in our own head. And as a side note, this is why I think everyone needs coaching, and why even coaches need coaches. We all need that outside perspective.

Trouble Concentrating

So anyway, when I was talking with my coach, I mentioned to her several times that I felt so restless. I couldn’t seem to sit still. My brain was all over the place. And I was jumping from one thing to the next.

Has this ever happened to you? You have a long list of things you want to do, but for some reason, you spin out in overwhelm and drama. You’re thinking to yourself things like, “I don’t know where to start, I have so much to do, I don’t know where to focus, I can’t stay focused.” 

Well, this is exactly what was happening to me. And I was feeling really restless and distracted because of these thoughts.

Causes of Distraction

And so we started diving into my situation. And the first thing we did was actually describe this feeling of restlessness that I kept mentioning. What does it feel like in my body? Where do I feel it?

And as a side note – if describing how your emotions feel in your body seems like a strange or unusual idea, make sure that you go back and listen to episode 35. That episode is all about the process of feeling and allowing your emotions. And it walks you through both the importance of doing this practice and actually how to do it. I’ll make sure to link to it in the show notes.

Anyway, so I took some time to describe what restlessness felt like for me. For me, restlessness is an emotion that moves. I can feel the vibrations starting toward the core of my body – generally in my chest, and a little bit in my stomach. And it is a fast vibration that moves outward toward my arms and legs. And I can feel myself literally fidgeting. It feels like my body has so much energy in it, but I have no idea what to do with it. 

And with all of that undirected energy vibrating throughout my body, I have a hard time focusing. I have a hard time sitting down and getting started on things. I find it easy to slip into feeling overwhelmed.

How to Avoid Distractions

And after we explored how the feelings of both restlessness and distraction felt in my body, both of which felt very similar, we then talked about the energy that I like to have when I am creating something.

In other words, what is the feeling that I like to generate that helps me follow through on my tasks, stay focused, and get the job done? And while there are lots of different emotions that I like to generate for various situations, whether it’s feeling focused or committed, or motivated, or curious, generally, my go-to emotion that I love to generate is excitement. 

When I am working on a project, or creating a podcast, or designing a new program, I love to feel excited. I love it when I think of the project, and my entire body lights up. And I have so much energy that I can’t wait to dive into the work and start making things happen. That is my absolute favorite way to get things done.

Ah-hah Moment

And once we identified the feeling of excitement as my favorite emotion when I sit down to work, we talked about what excitement felt like. And this is where it got a little bit crazy.

Because here is how excitement feels for me: 

It is an emotion that moves. I can feel the vibrations starting toward the core of my body – generally in my chest, but also a little bit in my stomach. And it is a fast vibration that moves outward toward my arms and legs. It feels like my body is filled with energy that vibrates through all of my limbs. 

In other words, it feels exactly like restlessness. The only difference is that it is directed energy rather than undirected energy. It is focused-energy versus unfocused-energy.

So while restlessness and feeling distracted feels like pent-up energy with no place to go, and it races through my body without any rhyme or reason to it.

Once I decide on a place to focus that energy, and I give that energy a sense of direction, I start feeling it as excitement.

And this was mind-blowing to me.

Nothing’s Gone Wrong Here

Because all of this time, I was telling myself there was a problem here. I shouldn’t be feeling this pent-up energy. I shouldn’t be feeling distracted and restless all the time. 

But this experience helped me realize that nothing’s gone wrong here. And in fact, everything’s right. All that I need to do, is start thinking about these vibrations in my body differently. All I need to do is decide where I want to put this incredible amount of energy that I have radiating inside me. 

Because when I start thinking differently, and I stop telling myself something’s gone wrong, I start generating excitement. I start generating the emotion that helps me take action, stay focused, and get things done. And that’s amazing.

And again, it all comes from thinking a little differently about how this emotion feels in my body and then reminding myself that it’s not a problem. Nothing has gone wrong.

How to Avoid Distractions and Get Focused

So after I ended the call with my coach, I did a big thought download of all of my different ideas that I had about this realization. 

And I realized what I wanted to do was create a clear goal for myself where I could channel all of this energy. I wanted to create one project that I could focus all of this pent-up energy, get excited about it, and start making things happen. 

And then anytime that feeling of restlessness pops up, because it does, I can remind myself” Excellent! I have a lot of extra energy right now. Where do I want to channel it? What part of this project do I want to work on? Clearly my body is looking for a place to send this energy, so what do I want to do? How do I want to turn this into excitement?

Create a Plan

And I look at that goal that I set for myself. I look at the step-by-step plan that I created. And I choose the next step in the process. I put all of my energy into that task. And because it’s a goal that I’m excited about, and I’ve already done the extra leg work of deciding of figuring out the steps to reach my end goal, I’m not tempted to spin out into overwhelm. I’m not tempted to tell myself I don’t know where to start. Because I do. It’s all there in my plan.

And I’m telling you, it has been an amazingly powerful experience that not only helps me redirect my restlessness, stop feeling distracted, get myself focused, but it also helps me make progress on an exciting goal that I’ve set for myself. What’s more, I constantly feel excited and lit up about working toward it. 

Seriously, that is such an amazing feeling.

Your Challenge This Week

So if you’re in a similar situation. If you are having a hard time staying focused. If you’re constantly getting distracted. And if you have that similar sense of restlessness in your body. I invite you to get curious. 

What does that feeling feel like? Where do you feel it in your body? Is it fast or slow? Does it move? And what thoughts are you thinking that generate that feeling?

If you’re like me, it is probably some version of unfocused energy. It is probably a pretty quick vibration that’s resonating through your body. 

Get Focused – Channel Your Energy

So rather than thinking something’s going wrong, I invite you to channel that energy. Where do you want to put it? How do you want to use that energy towards something in your life? How can you think about it differently and start experiencing excitement or motivation instead?

Free Workbook

Now, because this has been such a powerful experience for me, and I want you to have a similar experience, I created a goal-setting workbook that follows the exact strategy that took. And I want to share it with you. 

It is the beginning of May when this podcast drops – May 3rd when it is released – and I want you to take a goal-setting challenge. It is a 30-day goal challenge. And whether you’re listening to this podcast in real-time or not, take the challenge for the next 30 days. 

Choose a 30-day goal. Use the workbook that I’ve created to map out all of the steps that are going to get you there, and then start directing all of your energy toward that goal. Start turning your restlessness and distraction into focused excitement. Choose one of the goals that you’ve been thinking about for so long, and turn it into reality.

Join Us!

And even better, make sure that you join the I’m Busy Being Awesome Facebook community, where we can hold each other accountable, cheer one another on, and channel our energy toward our big goals together. 

Sound good? Awesome!

Okay, so how do you get this book? Simply go to the show notes imbusybeingawesome.com/episode41 to get access to the full transcript, the free workbook, and any links or other episodes that I mentioned in the podcast.

Choose your goal, start turning your distraction and restlessness into energy and excitement, and make your goal a reality over the next 30 days.

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