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4 Ways To Stay Focused When There’s Something More Fun You Want To Do

How do you deal with distractions? When they are as cute as this one, I just go with the flow and play more than I usually do. You see, I’m grandma to this one so I don’t have to clean up after him – or feed him – or take him on walks. My son does all that. I have all the grandma privileges – spoil him rotten – buy new toys – play for awhile then give him back. New puppies are soooo much fun when someone else does all the work!

But he is quite a distraction! He’s been here only a few days, and the amount of work I’ve gotten done is probably about 25% of normal. Naturally when it came time to write a post, my inspiration focused directly on those moments of distraction when I just have to get up and go see what Rush is doing. Here are a few tips you can use for your own distractions. I will definitely be using them for the next few weeks to get back on track.

1. Give in! That sounds crazy and seems to be missing the point, but if you use this one sparingly it works wonders. Let’s say there’s a cute puppy in the other room, and you can’t get your mind off of how much fun he is. Give in to urge to play for 5 or 10 minutes then get back to work. You need a break once in awhile, don’t you?

2. Use the distraction as a reward. Set a time – I use 1.5 hours – and then spend 5 to 10 minutes with the puppy (or your own distraction!)

3. List your distractions. My piano instructor in college taught me this one. Keep a notepad handy and write down anything you think about that needs to be done or handled later – play with Rush, buy a new chew toy. The reminder list frees you up to focus on the current task without being afraid of forgetting something. (Like I’m going to forget to play with the puppy!)

4. Track your distractions. This is one I developed after using #3 for a few months. When I make a tick mark for each time my mind wanders off onto something else – maybe something like a puppy – it helps me refocus. The fact that I’m seeing all those tick marks add up helps me realize I’m wasting time and motivates me to stay on task.

I hope this helps when you’re dealing with distractions. I’d probably have more to say on the subject, but I really have to go. There’s a puppy waiting for me and…

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46 Responses to 4 Ways To Stay Focused When There’s Something More Fun You Want To Do

  1. Hey Teresa,

    Great ideas. You are right, we do need breaks.

    Like the idea of keeping a list going so you can feel secure that you don’t forget things and it really does allow you to get back into the swing of things right away.

    And keeping track of the issues that most frequently distract you might help you to find a way to use that distraction as a reward, rather than allowing it to be a distraction, reward yourself with a break (at the appropriate time).

    Looking forward to more from you.

    Joe

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    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks, Joe! I’m really having to work hard on this subject right now, so I’m following my own tips diligently!

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  2. Hi Teresa,

    What a beautiful soul! I call the puppy a reward (not a destruction).
    I am with you on taking breaks and actually being more efficient this way.

    Have fun and enjoy this beauty!
    Infinite love and gratitude to you,
    Venus :)
    Venus :) ´s last blog ..Who Are You Really? (part 2)

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    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Venus! He’s a reward alright! Was that a slip – destruction instead of distraction! Because BOTH are true! Those puppy teeth – we’re forever substituting chew toys for fingers, clothes, furniture…

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  3. Hey Teresa, we have the same problem. Recently a puppy came into our lives. (we always get a rescue dog that is at least a year old and always say “never” a puppy) Low & behold, this little giant puppy came to us. He was 14 weeks old, half aussie and half basset hound. My friends call him Frankenstein because it looks like his head was screwed on to a different body, but I digress….
    He keeps us busy so I know what you are going through. I let it just happen because he needs all that attention. Teething is a problem, so I took several breaks a day, put ice cubes in a linen cloth and held it so he can chew on it and his teeth would feel better. (my vet wants to capitalize on this one) Then I thought of freezing apples….that worked for 5 minutes before he pulverized it.
    Long story here, but that is the setting and you know how much time we need to be looking at our computers.
    I think it is a blessing, but my husband has to learn the lesson of go wit the flow. He has all his work on a chart that he doesn’t get done. Why? Because he doesn’t accept the puppy factor. I am getting a pad right now and make him do that list. I’m sure it will work for him.
    Thanks Teresa! Donna
    P.S. WHAT A DARLING BABY THERE!
    Donna Merrill´s last blog ..MLM Online Marketing

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    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Donna!
    The ice is a great idea! We stumbled on the idea of an old shower curtain ring. They’re perfectly round and smooth – very hard plastic so he doesn’t chew through them (yet!). He’s so cute because he can get his lower jaw through it and chew contentedly without trying to hold it in place with his paws. He just tilts his head up and chomps away!
    Let me know how the list works for your husband!

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  4. LOL. The puppy’s waiting for you and?????

    These are great tips. I’m definitely going to use #3. I get so much clutter in my mind about all of the things I need to do. Keeping a continuous list is the perfect solution. I also really like #4, it’s a great motivator to see a clear picture of how off track you’re getting. I’m going to use that one too. Thanks Teresa!

    Danielle
    Danielle Zack´s last blog ..How to Create an Opt-In Box to Capture Your Following

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    Teresa Reply:

    Glad you liked the post, Danielle. That mind clutter is so distracting! I’ve found that if a particular thing keeps showing up on the list repeatedly and it won’t take too long to finish, I stop and take care of it on one of my breaks. If it will take longer, I schedule it soon so it won’t keep bugging me. The lists really can help you plan and organize as you listen to what’s really on your mind.

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  5. Love it Teresa. You put a human face on an age old problem. Thanks for the realistic approach.
    Nelson´s last blog ..“Am I a Jerk or What!!!”

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    Teresa Reply:

    Glad you liked it, Nelson!

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  6. Teresa,
    After reading your tips and reasons, I have to say that you bring up a great point. If used correctly, dealing with the distraction first may free up your thought process. I love your idea about writing down things to do as you think of them. It definitely will keep you on track without losing focus.

    I appreciate your views and ideas,
    Val :)
    Val Wilcox´s last blog ..Discover Your Purpose in Life

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    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Val! I’m replying to your post after a puppy break! I have new tooth marks on my wrists from where the puppy missed the chew toy, but I love cuddling and playing with for a few minutes here and there. Those breaks are so refreshing that I’m more focused when I come back. I think companies should institute puppy breaks instead of coffee breaks – they are way more fun!

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  7. I suffer from the same “distraction syndrome”. I usually take a 10 minute break to breathe every two hours or so. It’s necessary to get that little window to recharge the brain so it doesn’t get stale. Great Post!

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    Teresa Reply:

    “Distraction Syndrome” – I love it! Recharging is vital even if there’s not a puppy around to help!

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  8. Hey Teresa,

    Great post. I have been tracking my distractions and progress with my activities for the past 2 months now. It has really shown me where I actually spend my time compared to what I have planned and allows me to be able to measure my success and progress towards achieving my goals and dreams. Having 10 minute breaks in between 50 minutes of concentrated work is what works best for me. Enjoy your new “grandchild”. He is very cute.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Make it a great day!
    God Bless,
    -ed
    Edward´s last blog ..Are You Ready For The Right Place & Time to Show Up In Your Life?

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    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Edward!
    Glad to hear tracking is helping you get a clear picture. Just the tracking can be a lot of work but pays off when you discover, as you have, what works for you. And thanks – as with any grandmother I’m biased on the cuteness factor!

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  9. Thank you for the tips, writing things down than simply doing it will free up time.

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    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Bill!
    Thanks for stopping by. Hope the tips are helpful.

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  10. I had a friend that had a successful business – publishing a Golf Magazine, when he moved the business to his home to be able to spend more time with the family – his business failed in less than a year – he said the distractions that surrounded him were to much to handle – he got sucked in to watching TV shows like Oprah and the Price is Right.
    Tim Somers´s last blog ..Appreciation Marketing The Key To Customer Loyalty

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    Teresa Reply:

    Wow! A powerful warning for anyone working from home, Tim!

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  11. Aw this post made me smile!

    Great tips, I’m definitely going to use them myself!

    Emma :)

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Glad it brought you a smile, Emma!

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  12. I especially like the #4 hidden benefit which allows you to track and keep you accountable to yourself…excellent silver lining.
    rebeccahappy´s last blog ..Win a Free iPad!

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    Teresa Reply:

    Definitely, Rebecca! It can all boil down to awareness.

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  13. Been thinking about getting a puppy. Wife says no, I already have enough distractions going on in my Life. Ah, the joy of rewarding yourself with something that gives unconditional Love. I’ll work on her. Now what would be the perfect pup…..
    Nelson´s last blog ..Stories in My Mind

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    Teresa Reply:

    Ah, Nelson! I got a chuckle out of your comment! I might suggest you steer away from a Siberian Husky – too easy to spoil with those blue eyes asking “why can’t I chew on that?” Good luck with winning your wife over on a puppy! It might help to know that I told my son it wasn’t a good time for a puppy and gave a long list of very good reasons – but he’s here and we love him.

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  14. Hey Teresa,

    I find myself getting distracted from time to time especially when my grandbaby is here, she calls me and wants me to watch Barney with her all day long! LOL! So I do understand so these 4 tips are going to save me. The next time I get myself distracted I am going to apply these tips immediately. Great post.

    Lori
    Lori Robertson´s last blog ..The Power Of Two Little Words “I AM”

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    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Lori!
    I didn’t know you were a grandma! It’s tough to think anything is more important than time with a grandchild! Let me know how you adapt the tips to the only role as important as motherhood.

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  15. This was a fun article! So, I have something to look forward to as a grandma! LOL I like that!

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    Teresa Reply:

    Oh yes! Grandma status is great all the way around!

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  16. Hi Teresa,
    Yes indeed, accepting that taking breaks is part of life is definitely the best advice for anyone working hard from home. After nearly 10 months, I am finally taking a break myself and heading to a place filled with sun and a pool. :) I can’t remember who said this (Einstein, perhaps?), but more often than not when we move away from our regular routines, our genius really comes alive. I’m counting on that happening as I lounge next to the pool with an umbrella drink!
    Mary Lou
    Mary Lou Kayser´s last blog ..Want to Be Wealthy? Here’s Your Best Bet

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    I’m so happy you’re taking your “sun and fun” break! And whoever said it – they were right.

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  17. Hi Teresa, thank you for sharing these great tips. It is nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels distracted and wanting to do something else…instead of what I know that I need to be doing…lol!
    Christine Casey´s last blog ..Success in Network Marketing is all about Building Relationships

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    Teresa Reply:

    You can be in my club! Seriously – I think most of us run into this problem, so you’re not the only one!

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  18. These are awesome!
    Sometimes, the distraction can be destructive… so another thing I do is check my goals. If I’m on track, then I allow some distractions – like you say, we do deserve breaks!

    I have the temptation to be distracted by some HIGHLY unproductive things… even less productive than spending some quality time with a pet… and been known to be addicted to them.. here’s where that laser-like focus on your vision for yourself and your family comes in handy!
    Paul Klaszus´s last blog ..Global Day of Lack Programming?

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    Teresa Reply:

    Great point, Paul! Scheduling breaks gives us something to look forward to – a reward for accomplishing those goals.

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  19. Teresa,
    So many distractions. Problem is, many of those distractions are right on the computer where I am attempting to focus on work – writing articles, blogs, researching something, syndicating. Then there’s a new teleseminar, another post to read – and I’m off in a different direction. Sometimes I have to just turn a blind eye to all the goodies out there.

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    Teresa Reply:

    I know what you mean, Erica! Sometimes I found I’ve wandered off so far I have a hard time remembering where I started. sigh. That’s when I’m grateful for my to do list.

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  20. I am very easily distracted. Normally it’s when I am cleaning. So what I do it clean for 15 min, stop for 15, clean for 15, ect… Seems to work well. You have great ideas.
    Karla Bond´s last blog ..Happy Healthy Monday

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    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks, Karla. You’ve given us a great idea here, too!

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  21. I like point #2. Rewards are always fun! :)
    Kevin M.´s last blog ..Silly Saturday – Kid pulls out tooth with rocket

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    Teresa Reply:

    Me, too! The hardest part for me is finding something more fun than the work I do. Puppies qualify as more fun though!

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  22. Hi Teresa,

    very useful tips. Setting a time sounds great and using the reward system too.
    I like the tip from your piano teacher too, making a note.
    For me it depends on what I am doing. With some things I am like ‘a dog with a bone’ (and not the one that goes and diggs a hole), with other things I will try writing a note from now on.

    Much appreciated.
    Have a great day.
    Yorinda
    Yorinda´s last blog ..Joy is the Goal

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  23. Hi Teresa,
    I like using the distraction as a reward. That is one tactic that motivates me. I think you have a lot of helpful suggestions.
    Take it easy,
    Angela
    Angela K. Williams´s last blog ..What- Me Worry

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  24. Looks like you got your deserved attention on this post :-) HIGH FIVE! … Well, its definitely a nice PR Push to blog about a cute little puppy … I ought to try it sometime ;-) Watch Me! hehe!
    Anyway, he’s a cute puppy and I’m getting distracted from writing this comment cause he’s so cute.
    These are some really good tips. I’m tweeting and liking “for sure” … The only tip that wouldn’t work for me is the tick marks because I use tick marks for my TSA counters (and that is a PLUS) … you see the picture! Keep up the great work on your blog and can’t wait til you can stop by mine as well.
    Blessings, C. Biz
    Curt Bizelli´s last blog ..ACMAs Entertainer of The Year and More — YOU DECIDE!

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  25. Hi Teresa,

    This is a great post. I often find myself trapped in starting doing other stuff than being creative and publishing content. I like the idea with the notepad to write down what comes to mind when busy with the more important task. I definitely will start using this method. Can you list a few more methods you can think off since you published this post?

    Thx, Alex
    Alexander Paul´s last blog ..An Online Tribe… What is that

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