How To Stop Getting Distracted When You’re Trying To Be Productive

Dayana Sabatin

Picture this; you just woke up. You realize you actually had a great night of sleep, and you feel very well-rested. A spark of excitement goes through your body; you’re feeling hopeful about the day. You’re not going to blame your lack of energy on being tired.

You hop out of bed, go to the bathroom, change out of your pajamas and head to the kitchen for that liquid gold you look forward to every morning. Today, you don’t need it because you feel like a zombie, but you want it.

You take a sip, and immediately you feel even more rejuvenated than before. I’m on fire today, you think to yourself. I feel so good.

You’re ready to start the workday; you’ve got your hydro flask and coffee in hand, you sit down at your computer and pull work files up. You check the time and think to yourself:

If I stay focused for the next four hours and crank all of this out, I might be done by lunch. Maybe I’ll reward myself with Starbucks. A flat white sounds good. Maybe I’ll even take a stroll to the market and grab lunch.

Your brain is buzzing with ideas of all the possibilities of what you’ll be able to do with your free time. All you need to do is stay focused for the next few hours.

You take one last gulp of your coffee and sigh; maybe I should check Instagram first.

Social media will always decrease your productivity.

I’ve bought into the lie that I need to be on social media for my business. I have a growing YouTube channel, a food blog, and in general — I’m trying to grow my audience, so I have to be fairly active.

So I get it when people say their screen time is obscene and they have to check social media first thing in the morning — it’s work-related.

But is it really? Are you going to get fired if you’re not showcasing your cup of coffee first thing in the morning and alerting the world that you’re up and at it?

I’ve tried various methods to detach myself from my constant need to scroll through my feed. The one that worked the absolute best was completely avoiding it one day per week to decrease my dopamine levels. Before doing this, I was obsessed, and I couldn’t go anywhere without sharing a story.

Currently at Starbucks guys. Currently waiting for my coffee. Just got it. Let me show you. Okay now I am exiting the building. Wow it’s a nice day out guys! Okay I am driving home now. Just made it home and going to get some work out of the way folks! Alright, I’m really struggling guys. I just don’t feel my best self today. — Me alerting the world of my whereabouts.

Social media gives us dopamine hits every time we use it, and just like that, we keep coming back for more, bypassing the negative effects that it has on our lives and productivity levels. Not only that, but social media helps us lose focus on our responsibilities because it’s so much easier to convince yourself you’re just going to take 10–15 minutes scrolling rather than focusing.

How to fix this:

If you’re someone like me, social media almost feels like the bottle of water (or hydro flask) you always reach for.

I fixed this by detaching myself completely. Eliminate all social media use 1 day out of the week for at a minimum of 1 month or until you feel less inclined to be on it. I utilized this method for 3 months, and suffice to say; it helped me immensely.

Monday is the perfect day to pick because it sets the mood for the week, and when Tuesday rolls around, it’s easier to say no because you’ve already started your work week on a positive note. Setting time limits is also beneficial; I allow 1 hour per day and never in the middle of a work session.

Social media affects your mood and enables you to procrastinate even more.

Answer this question honestly, when you wake up in the morning and check your socials, how does it make you feel when you see outrageously positive comments/likes on other people's photos in comparison to yours?

What kind of mood does that put you in? I’ve hit the pillow at night thinking I’d wake up an overnight sensation because I’d just uploaded a one-of-a-kind what I eat in a day video or selfie but when I wake up and see — well, nothing of that nature my entire mood shifts.

While you don’t need to be in the greatest mood ever to get your work done, feeling like crap doesn’t help either. The quality of your work changes when you feel light and optimistic, you feel proud of what you’re doing, you’re encouraged by the amount of time you’re spending working.

Social media doesn’t make you feel that way. It shows you that despite knowing you’re wasting your time, you keep doing it anyway because temporary satisfaction feels good at the moment.

How to fix this:

I’m not going to lecture you on how comparing yourself to others is only harming you. We both know that, and it’s something I’ve been working on for years.

It’s hard to see others thriving while you’re in the middle of your come-up. You wonder what they did differently; maybe they put something in their morning cup of coffee that blesses them with this obscene energy and motivation.

In reality, they went through the same process that you’re going through; they’re just a few steps ahead.

Who knows why? Maybe they started earlier, maybe they had some help, or maybe they worked harder, and while that might be a hard pill to swallow, accept it instead of groaning, complaining, and comparing.

Stretch yourself in ways you never have before, ask questions, be curious about what other successful people have done, and model it after them. If someone you look up to is working hard, you need to work harder.

You might not always win the race, but at least you’ll start jogging alongside the people who can help show you how they win and how you can too.

Social media only tells you part of the story.

You get so distracted watching everybody else live that you yourself forget to live.

A few weeks ago, I watched a YouTube video of an influencer I follow; she shared a video recounting everything she eats in a week. I noticed every morning; she has a nasty green juice with celery, cilantro, and coconut water.

I’m a huge advocate for health, but drinking cilantro and celery as I’m rubbing the sleep out of my eyes just doesn’t sound appealing. I’m a coffee kind of gal.

However, after watching that video, I felt immense guilt. Am I not healthy enough? Am I doing this social media thing wrong? All of the comments on that YouTube video praised how healthy she is and how they all want to be just like her.

I thought about this video for over a week; it honestly depressed the crap out of me. A week or two ago, she posted another video, saying she hated that green juice and switched over to smoothies, something I find a bit more tasteful.

Social media only tells you parts of people's lives. You’re so enamored in what everyone else is doing that you’re not understanding it’s only a small aspect of a larger photo. You take the little that you see, and you let it distract you for a week — or sometimes even longer.

How to fix this:

‘Stay in your own lane’ is the phrase that is coming to mind right now as I’m typing this.

You’re capable of achieving so much in your life, yet you’re constantly allowing yourself to get distracted by the minuscule things of life.

You want to be healthy, but you’re so distracted by how others are doing it that you don’t want to find a way that works purely for you.

You want to have an incredible relationship with your partner, yet you’re so distracted by the photos you see of couples online that you think to yourself, we’ll never be like that, so why even try?

You want to have a fulfilling career and have an abundance of money, yet you spend hours on social media, and you tell yourself, the world doesn’t need another creator. Instead, I’ll just sit here and be a consumer and waste my time groaning, complaining, and comparing.

I don’t know you, but I know myself, and I know I’m not the only one that has felt this way. My only hope is that you come to these conclusions sooner than I did.

Stay in your own lane, my friend. Do what you need to do to make it, avoid the naysayers — even the ones in your head that tell you you’re not good enough.

Distraction comes in many forms. At the end of the day, there are only a few strategies that actually work.

It’s all about doing what you don’t want to do. You don’t want to put your phone out of sight; you don’t want to disable your notifications — what if something important comes up? You say.

You don’t want to take time off social media. You don’t want to stick to your commitments. You don’t want to do the things you know will help you because they’re hard — they’re supposed to be.

You need to cross the barriers that are tying you up in the same cycle. If you want to improve, you need to do what others aren’t willing to do.

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