Do I dare put a sign up for my mom that says –
Unless there is blood don’t bug me?
Wait! Before you judge me. Let me explain by going back a couple of weeks.
I started reading the book Deep Work by Cal Newport.
The subtitle is what convinced me to buy the book – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
Oh, how I need help with the distractions in my life.
I’ll bet you do too.
Deep Work has valid ideas about how we work in the 21st Century.
But, I wasn’t far into the book when I knew that I wouldn’t adopt most of what the very intelligent author was advocating.
I probably won’t put it on my list of suggested personal development reading either.
Because Cal Newport would have me unplug from computers, the internet, and social media in a major way.
That is not happening.
Not while I am using my computer, the internet, and social media to build my team, my business.
Still, I have gained understanding about the nature of distraction and the value of working without distraction.
I will just apply that understanding more like Cari Higham does.
My distraction is 94 years old.
Cari’s distractions are in the 4-year-old range.
But distractions are distractions no matter the age.
The question is how does one get undistracted time?
Enter Cari Higham’s recent email.
Her subject line read: Don’t bug me unless there’s blood.
It’s an attention getter for sure.
So, Cari doesn’t care for a 94-year-old mother but she has a couple of boys that are in the four-year-old range.
Cari knows distraction.
And how she deals with it is telling her sons don’t bug me unless there is blood.
Actually what Cari does will be helpful for you no matter what your distractions are.
She has a kitchen timer and sets it for 30 minutes.
She tells her sons that they are not to bug her for that 30 minutes.
Unless there is blood.
They understand what that means. And they don’t feel unloved by her. They understand the boundaries of time as defined by the timer.
The timer is also a boundary for Cari. She knows that she has to focus on the task that she needs to accomplish in the next 30 minutes. She knows to eliminate the distractions that would keep her from completing that task.
The buzzer at the end of the thirty minutes is a reminder to Cari to get up and move around and do other things that are healthy for her.
She mentions exercise and drinking water – lots of water – not sugary drinks but water.
So, I will need a sign for Mom. She won’t remember what the timer is for unless there is a sign.
And I don’t think I need to mention blood.
But I’m going to get the timer and I’m going to have a sign that gives me 30 minutes of time to focus on my business.
Because I will be working on my computer and the internet and social media are connected, I will need to use the do not disturb function that my computer and phone have.
Because one email or post notification can pull me away from my work and lead me down a time decimating rabbit hole.
I am also going to get the water that I need when the 30 minutes is up.
Too many days I forget to drink enough water.
Cal Newport in Deep Work would rather my undistracted time be eight hours I think.
That kind of undistracted work is a great idea for some people.
But today I will take this quote from Deep Work and apply it to my 30 minutes at a time undistracted work:
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaly emphasizes the advantage of cultivating “concentration so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant, or to worry about problems.”
I applied this while tackling a particularly difficult project recently. It had ended in failure for me twice before but this time I decided to try this kind of intense concentration.
And I succeeded.
For me and Cari Higham, it will be more than enough to practice this kind of Deep Work in 30-minute intervals.
Comment below how you might use this technique to deal with distractions in your life.
Feel free to share this with your team and follow your vision,