I’m sure there is some science behind it (which I haven’t found) but from a sample size of one, I know how many thoughts pop into my head each day—or even minute-by-minute.
I was sitting and reading last weekend and found myself reaching for my phone, being lost in thought, and overall just distracted from what I was reading.
I decided to write down everything that came to my mind during the time I was sitting and reading.
The amount of crap (and some useful thoughts) I wrote down was pretty incredible.
Anything from ‘taxes’ to ‘need to be more active’ to ‘how do I sell more,’ flitted through my mind.
In the end, I recorded 53 separate thoughts in a 45 minutes period. Extrapolate this by a work day, work week, or an entire life and you can see why we are all distracted.
This doesn’t even include notifications from my phone. I turned those off a while ago, but I know that if you add notifications on top of rogue thoughts then you are in for quite the roller coaster of distraction.
To counteract this I now keep a notebook open in front of me while I am working. Every time I think I have to do something, I pause, accept the thought, then make a note of it.
Just being aware of being distracted is a start—not acting on every single one is even better.
It also gives you some space from the feeling of ‘I must do this now’. If it is truly crucial then I will do it, if not I’ll let it cool off for a while and then revisit it when I’m not mid-activity.
Start writing those thoughts down.