Isn’t it frustrating to be working on a project – only to be distracted by an idea for another project! You can build structure around eliminating other distractions, but it’s much harder to eliminate the distractions in our own head!
My favorite technique for staying on task when we are distracted by our own thoughts is to use a Parking Lot. A parking lot is piece of paper where you write down (park!) every idea that comes into your head, as soon as it enters your head. (You can also use one Post -It note per idea if you prefer.)
While you are working on a task, and an unrelated thought pops into your head, jot it down in the parking lot. Stay focused on the task at hand. Once you finish, then you can look at all the ideas in the parking lot and decide on the next task you want to complete.
Here are some everyday occurrences where you can apply this strategy:
- Internet – Instead of opening a new browser each time an idea pops into your head, jot the ideas down, finish the current online task, then open a tab for one of the tasks you identified on the parking lot.
- Project – While working on a project you think of an idea for another project. Instead of continuing to think about this project, write down your thoughts in the parking lot, and continue working on the initial idea.
- Meeting – During a meeting or presentation, place any questions, strategy suggestions, and other important (but unrelated) ideas into the parking lot until the appropriate time. Questions may be answered throughout the talk and if not, you have captured them for review at the end. Also, when the meeting is focused on big picture ideas and you a have a great implementation idea, putting it into the parking lot allows you to keep the meeting on track and remember your ideas.
- Webinars – Since webinars are often “anonymous” it’s easier to multi-task while listening. The speaker says something that reminds you that you need to pay your cell phone bill, so you open a browser to pay the bill and stop listening to the speaker. Instead, park it – and listen!
The next time you are feeling distracted by the thoughts in your own head, utilize the parking lot strategy. You can even jot ideas down during every day conversations. (You know – when you don’t want to interrupt the person you are speaking with, but you also want to make sure to add a new thought when appropriate!)
Lisa Crilley Mallis, lover of chocolate, the beach, and country music and owner of SystemSavvy Consulting, LLC is a time strategy visionary. She is a master at cutting to the heart of overwhelm to help you regain control of your schedule and experience life. Lisa assists professionals in the direct selling industry implement concrete techniques that can be applied immediately to their daily lives. Her enthusiasm for finding solutions is contagious, and her commitment to empowering you to find success is transformational. For additional time saving techniques visit www.SystemSavvyConsulting.com.