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Focus when distractions show up

focus productivity Oct 25, 2019


How do you focus even when distractions show up?

  1. Realize that it's not just the pull of distractions that causes you to move towards them, but its that the thing you are trying to work on is uncomfortable. That discomfort pushed you towards the distractions. Next time, observe and pay attention to these feelings.
  2. Note the distraction. Carry small sticky notes with you where you can note these distractions and come back to them later. Doing this activity enables your mind to compartmentalize these distractions
  3. Use curiosity. Pay more attention to that particular thing what you are working on. Try to find something unique you have not noticed before and get curious about your work. That will enable you to get deeper into the job you are doing and help you keep away from distractions.

I encourage you to use these techniques in conjunction. I am confident that within one week, you can master them and start to see significant improvements in your ability to focus.

Recommended reading: Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Full Transcript


Hey this is Shobhit, Founder of Intentional Product Manager.

And today I am here to talk about “focus”. Focusing even when distraction showoff. Now there is confusion I want to make, which is  I just love my phone, it’s awesome. It’s enables me to access the internet every time. Apps help me stream educational content. It’s just view photos of my kids, it’s an awesome device. But I also often blame it  for distraction, blame it for notifications and we all have this love-hate relationship with our phone and we blame things like notifications and work pressure other things for distracting us from not enabling us to focus.


 Today I am here to tell you that distraction is always been there. This just change forms they’ve maybe got a little bit more intense in the past few years. But even if you want to shut down all electronics in everything like that you still probably get distracted, you still probably find ways to move away from what you are supposed to be doing. And so I am here talk about 3 ways with which you can stop doing that’s. And focus on think that really matter. Now as product manager this is one thing that super-critical and one of the co-reason why that the case is because, as a product manager we have 3 distinct rules: 1. we are a general manager, we are mentor on the product as a business 2. we are the voice of the customer and 3. we are an orchestrator. We are making sure that everything that need to be co-ordinated, you know weather its the release, marketing, help documentation all that happens, so that the release is successful so that the product is successful so that the customers get value. And how often do you spend way too much time as an  orchestrator? And not enough as a general manager as a voice of a customer? And I have certainly done that and one of the main reasons for that is point them on around focus. which is very often the thing that we try to focus on is deep work it’s something that requires concentration and very often it pushes us outside our comfort zone. And you can think of distraction has that pull model whether distraction is pulling you to exit. But I also want to encourage you and challenge you to think about distraction as a push model. 

Where you are pushing yourself towards distractions because you are pushing yourself away from something that is making you uncomfortable. I recently read this book called “indestructible” …..3.40…. highly recommend you to read it. one other things it’s talks about really is that what distraction is  the form of pain management. you are facing the pain or focusing on something thats making you uncomfortable. Might be something you know you’re writing a product relation and it’s something that you imagining of the future and that by itself is something that could be uncomfortable. And so you are attracted towards distractions. you are pushing yourself towards distractions. Rather than the distraction pulling you. That’s a first thing it’s a mindset shift it’s really all about recognizing that is not that, this distraction have a pull, that is just inherent it’s also the fact that you are driving yourself towards them. And so the tactical thing you can do is actually duoleve in those feelings. To get deeper into it. to really start to notice what is it. That’s making you uncomfortable, that takes you towards distraction. That is the first thing,  its a minset shift. Its not just the pull of distraction, its that you are pushing yourself towards that because going and doing the distraction is easier than the task you doing. 

Now the 2nd thing you can do is the reverse. so it’s actually to puts space between yourself and the distraction. And by that what I mean is the technique of distraction nodding or triggered nodding. so one of the thing that’s I always carry  with myself is these stickies. And the way I use stickies is when I think something to do or some distraction come to my life, I simply note it down. so for example, on my mind right now is some voice exercises I typically do at the start of the day, I didn’t do that today. Now I got completely stop recording this webinar this video and go do that we often do that we go shop on amazon or check our email but that’s won’t serve me and that won’t serve you, that won’t serve my coaching, my business. So by going towards distraction causing harm to everyone around. But what I could do just put it down the stickies, I wrote down voice exercises and I put it at a dedicated spot in my note book And than I review that dealing and what that does is that is it gives my mind a break from these things.  The mind now knows that, these things will be taken care off, so I can release them. I can move away from them and instead I keep focusing on the task what are very very important work I wasl trying to do. I highly recommend non-digital form for this things. So that and there is two reason why, number one this some magic of writing things down rather than typing them down, studies are shown that you learn better you read anything better but also you release thoughts better if you write them down rather than typing them out.

And 2nd one is to just a word additional instructions write the technique is just called distraction noting.  and your phone brings with that a bunch of other distraction. And you might like you know go down one thing and than before you know you are like doing social media and you are doing classic scrolling and you know that’s you won’t do that so use non-digital means to write this things down. If fact at the point and time I had started taking all my notes on my ipad and that I realize, no, that’s not serving me, like carrying around notebooks like this really serve me. And went back to analog method.     

And now the 3rd technique right talk about shifting your mindset and paying attention to the discomfort causing move away and move towards distraction, 2nd one is distraction nodding  so that you can build some space between yourself and distractions.

The 3rd one is curiosity. so By that what I mean is  when you are working on something, one way to stop getting distracted to other things is to pay more attention to that particular thing what you working on. so let you building a presentation what i want to do is to start noticing the things you are unique about the presentation. Maybe it something about google slide or keynote or. what ever you using you have never noticed before. maybe it’s the way you write sentences whatever it is just try to find something unique you have not noticed before and get curious about it and what that enables you to do is to further get deep into the work and in some sense release some of that sense of things uncomfortable or the tension that you are feeling. And that itself makes you enable to focus a lot more on the task. Just in the last 3 weeks as I started to pickup this habit and build it further. It’s help me so much in  combination of these 3 habits, helped me so much and starting to get just more focus on that thing that what I was doing. in being much, less likely to move away from things. So once again I want to highly encourage you to try all this 3 techniques not just one not just two but all this three in conjunction with each other cause they meant to work in conjunction. you know one is doing your doing a mindset shift getting curious about your distraction you nodding them so that you can make space away from them and than you using that sense of paying attention and curiosity to bring back and really focusing on the work you are doing And I strongly believe that you can just by watching this video once maybe once again and taking some notes down you can internalize this habits and if you apply them everyday for the next week you will start to see the difference and you will start to master them and than you can be ready for my next session where I teach another set of habits that you can use to become better product manager better person. 

This is Shobhit, founder of Intentional Product Manager.  

And look forward to seeing you in my next video and I can’t wait to hear how you did in this practice.

Post, comment below the video, let me know what happened, I am so curious to hear from you. Have an awesome day, stay focused.  

If you liked the blog post, you will love my free course “How to be an outstanding Product Leader without working insane hours.” Go ahead, enroll now!




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