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We live in a world that is full of distractions.

I realized this the other day as I was trying to get some writing done. I sat down with my laptop, got caught up to speed on where I was at in my manuscript, and started to write. A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was a friend of mine, calling about an upcoming trip we were trying to plan.

I chatted with my friend a few minutes and then tried to get back to work. It took me a few minutes to remember where I was at in my manuscript, and then I got back to writing. A few minutes later, I received a text. It was another friend of mine, wondering if I wanted to get lunch later that week.

I texted him back, and then I decided to check Facebook. I read a few posts, and ‘liked’ a few comments. Then I checked my Twitter feed for a few minutes, to see if anything crazy had happened in the world since I checked last. Then I clicked over to ESPN to see if anyone had said anything interesting about the Blackhawks.

Finally, I put my phone down and tried to get back to work. Again, it took me a few minutes to remember where I was at in my manuscript. By that time, I realized that I was hungry and I went to the kitchen to make myself something for lunch.

Do you see my problem? Too many distractions = Very little work actually completed. This might seem like an extreme example, but if you had a video camera running throughout your workday, what percentage of the time would you actually be working on the task at hand? What percentage of the time would you be getting distracted, or switching your attention back and forth between your distractions and the task at hand?

Efficiency is important. If we are efficient in our tasks, we can get more done in less time. Not only can we accomplish more, but we also have more time for the things that really matter to us or bring us pleasure, like our families, friends, and leisure activities.

Try working with no distractions. Shut off your phone, disconnect from the Internet, and focus completely on the task at hand. Focus on one thing at a time, and don’t switch back and forth between several tasks. You will become more efficient with your time to the extent you can remove distractions.

Discussion: What does your workday look like? Are you completely focused on the task at hand, or are you distracted by other things? What is the #1 ‘distractor’ that keeps you from staying focused?