The earthquake yesterday was pretty intense. All the computers in the office were wobbling and the ground was shaking, it almost felt like airplane turbulence. As soon as it was over everyone in the office started calling family, a few of us went on Twitter where we soon realized the tremors went up and down the east coast as well as reaching out as far west as Ohio. It was insane and then I realized almost two hours had passed by without any work getting done.
Granted an earthquake in Maryland is a big deal but too often we find ourselves distracted by the small things. Maybe a coworker walks into the office, a trend on Twitter catches your eye or that gallon of water you drank is just flowing through you like there is no tomorrow. Regardless of the type, you will find yourself distracted during your day. The question is, “How do we move through the distractions?” and “How do we make sure they don’t sideline our day?” Here are four steps I take:
- Give Yourself A Start And End: Get to work on time and leave on time you’ll find yourself focused. Most youth ministers take their flexible schedules for granted by showing up whenever and leaving when it’s late. This lack of discipline just opens the door for distractions. By giving yourself an allotted amount of time to get your work done you create a focused environment.
- Shut Out Noise: If you have a door close it or if you share an office wear headphones (even if you aren’t listening to music). Some of us like listening to music while we work and we buy into the myth that it motivates us. Whether it’s music or background noise we need to have times where we shut it out; otherwise it’ll feel like we are having two conversations at once.
- Take Care Of Yourself: If I don’t sleep, I struggle to focus at work. If I don’t eat right, I find myself looking for a midday snack. On the days I take care of myself I find that most of my work is taken care of because I have the energy to get it done.
- Planning Your Breaks: Eating lunch away from our desk, taking a quick walk around the building or just having a planned water cooler break is a way of pacing through the day. Our bodies and minds need breaks, if we don’t consciously give ourselves one, we’ll find ourselves wandering around or browsing the web. Take breaks but plan them out.
We think rules take away our freedom; but, that mentality is a little hypocritical. Each week we tell teenagers to follow the path by staying true to the teachings of Christ. We tell them that because there is freedom in God’s law. Distractions will happen and each day you will be tempted. If you want to know how to stay on track or rebound from one of life’s tangents plan out your day and create a system that holds you accountable to your work.
What’s your biggest distraction? How do you stay focused?