Are You A Distraction Addict At Work?

Hi, My Name Is Patrick and I’m a Distraction Addict.


Yes, I too know the pain of distraction addiction at work.

How much time did you waste at work this week? You know, all the time you spent on the web looking at that breaking news crisis, the latest weather threat, the plunging backless gowns on the red carpet.

Anne Hathaway’s visible nipple line? Shocking! Must read that one, right? I did too.

We work in a blizzard of crises, threats, outages, losses. It is truly one media shocker after another. All of this, totally all of this blizzard, is created by our human ability to be distracted. We’re excellent consumers of distraction. Pure geniuses in fact.

Some of us are better than others at controlling this urge to follow distractions. Those focused individuals are usually the successful ones among us. They have a somewhat unique ability to focus on their goals.

How To Focus On Your Goals?

To do this, you must actually define your goals. What are your goals for five years from now? Such a simple question. Yet, so few people have an answer for this. I was once one of those people.

It was maybe 20 years ago. Divorced. Horribly separated from my dear daughter. Broke and living under a heavy burden of debt that wasn’t really mine. (Can you say, “Codependent?”)  Self-employed because I made a bad decision to partner with a colleague on our own business, except I was never really a “partner.” And he replaced me with a woman with whom he had fallen in love.

Broke. Emotionally distraught. No matter how hard I worked I couldn’t seem to climb out of that hole. I was numb. I had no goals except to feed my daughter. To pay my bills. To try not to let on how desperate I was.

If you’ve been there, you know what I mean to have no goals. If you’re there now, trust me, all things will pass. Be patient. Forgive yourself and others. Pick yourself up and start over.

Now, my daughter is preparing to graduate from one of the best design colleges in the country. I’ve risen through the ranks to become the CEO of a private company that’s grown 69% the past three years. I have a happy marriage, two wonderful step kids that have brought so much into my daughter’s life and mine, and more blessings than I ever imagined.

This life is a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re speeding into hell. No matter where you are on the spectrum of success or failure, you must set goals for yourself. If you’re down, just start over with the fundamentals.

All Leaders Serve Two Masters

All adults serve at least two masters. The first is their boss. (If you’re the boss, you still serve a master, right?  If you’re a business CEO, how’s that board treating you?)

The second master we serve is our own Ego.

Thus, we’re all in a state of quiet conflict. On the one hand, we must do the work our boss wants us to do. But we want to do the work our ego says we really should be doing.

And then our mind barks and barks, “look at that crisis on CNN!”  “Oh, now look at that threat on Yahoo!”  Oh, now look at that shocker in my email!” Before you know it, the week has passed and you still haven’t delivered that report to your boss that was due two weeks ago.

You boss hasn’t complained yet. Do you think she’s noticed?

I guarantee she’s noticed. She achieved her position by being a top performer. She became a top performer because she was able to focus. Focus. FOCUS!

She learned to focus on what her boss’s priorities were. She learned to turn her childish ego over to her higher power and focus on giving rather than on receiving. She learned to keep Yahoo and CNN and Email in a box that she opened only once or twice a day.

Remember, as a human being you’re a distraction addict. You must avoid the sources of distraction if you want to break the cycle of wasted time and loss of focus in order to advance your career. It’s kind of like stopping smoking. Difficult, but not that bad after all.

If you find yourself unable to break your distraction addiction, get help. It’s available. It’s called therapy.

Successful People Understand Where To Focus Resources

In conclusion, successful people focus on goals. To do this, you actually have to set goals. The successful manager or employee knows the keys to success are his boss’s goals. Focus on those and you’ve unlocked that door to the next level in your career advancement.

How do you resist distraction at work? Share a tip.

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