Distraction and Overwhelm — You Can Quiet the Clamor

Rainbow quiet clamor
Quiet your distraction and overwhelm…

Distraction and overwhelm are two of the biggest time challenges facing most of us today.

And if distraction and overwhelm aren’t at the top of your list, I am betting that they are probably in your top 5 or 10.

Information streams at us constantly along with expectations of quick responses and almost 24-7 productivity.

So, it’s no wonder that you often feel besieged, inundated, and pulled in multiple divergent directions all at once.

But what can you do? Don’t you have to just go faster and faster to keep up with it all?

Distraction and Overwhelm are Time Thieves

People, tasks, and nuggets of information clamor for your attention. Each one offers what looks like just a ‘small’ distraction from whatever you were doing.  But each distraction steals far more time than you suspect. Why? Each time you turn to something else, you dilute your focus and derail your momentum.

Some time ago I read an excellent blog post by Daphne Gray-Grant that zeroes in on the issue of distraction incisively and entertainingly.  The post is titled “How to improve your focus.” In it Gray-Grant explores the intersection of distraction and overwhelm, noting that:

As a self-employed contractor, I remember being told many years ago that a two-minute break to answer a brief phone call should always count as a 15-minute interruption, because you were disrupted. Now, I learn, even the sound of your phone ringing is disruptive (the experts suggest you turn it off if you want to get your work done.)

Distraction and Overwhelm — Self-Sabotage in Action

The more demands you have on your time the greater the temptation to attempt to ‘do it all.’ By definition, this is impossible and leads to paralysis at best. At worst, your efforts lead to mistakes, complications, and more lost time.

The reality is that you can do one thing at a time.  Period.

And the additional often ignored, fact is this: Multi-tasking generally leads, not to doing MORE but actually LESS in most cases.  Quite often multi-tasking is not a time management skill but an insidious and potent form of self-sabotage.  At its base, can you see how multi-tasking presents you with constant distractions? They will keep your wheels spinning and your focus fundamentally scattered and disengaged.

Distraction and Overwhelm: Letting it Go

The reasons we sabotage ourselves are unique to each of us. But they share some common threads.  You’ll find one of them in the last word of my paragraph above.  

When you are distracted you are disengaged. You aren’t choosing anything, really. This gives you the illusion of flexibility. But, in fact, you’re simply feeding feelings of overwhelm.

Ironically, the key to moving out of distraction (letting it go) is to take hold of something and engage with it.  And I mean engage with ONE thing, not many. This involves making a choice and making a beginning on ONE of the tasks on your list of things to do.

Distraction vs. Traction

As soon as you engage with ONE task, you will feel the traction.  It’s like gear wheels clicking into place.  You begin to make progress, and as you do, overwhelm dissipates and your time horizon takes clearer shape.  Next steps emerge from the tangle of tasks, and you are moving again.

So, how do you see distraction playing a role in your feelings of overwhelm?

And how has this post affected your feelings about multi-tasking?

And here’s more help…

How often do distractions and interruptions pull you off track? If you feel thwarted by some of your own choices, learn to support yourself by setting and maintaining meaningful inner boundaries.  I’ve designed my complimentary Inner Boundary Checklist to help you do just that.  Find time for what truly matters to you.

Are you ready to empower yourself? Use this powerful Checklist with 15 simple steps to set and maintain strong, clear internal boundaries. The Inner Boundary Checklist helps you follow through on what you say you will do. Click this link to give yourself this complimentary tool today!

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