Do you feel more distracted than usual? You are not alone. The struggle to stay focused is an issue many people face. After so much time spent in lockdown during the pandemic, you may feel lethargic or just all around slower, lacking motivation or determination.
We must be vigilant about the things that distract us and employ strategies to end the brain fog and lack of clarity we feel when in a state of distraction. It is easy to stay on autopilot and move through the day instead of being in an action-oriented state. When you are distracted, autopilot becomes the norm.
Jay Shetty shares some strategies that will help you bust out of the grasp of boredom and regain your happiness and joy, allowing you to achieve more.
Decision fatigue is something that everyone experiences in life. We make so many decisions daily, from what to wear and eat to what route to take to avoid the traffic jam.
Perhaps your spouse asks you how they look in an outfit, or a co-worker wants your opinion on which direction to take on a project at work, and you find yourself just wishing that they would stop talking. You feel agitated, distracted, and do not want to deal with it.
From the time you wake up in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night, you make many insignificant decisions. There comes a time in the day where you just can’t bear to make another one. Decision fatigue is a real issue and can make a person be short, rude, or mean to the person asking a question, leaving them feeling upset or unloved.
“When we wake up in the morning, we think about the things we have to do today,” Jay Shetty explains. “What time you have to leave for work, or what to make for lunch. What to wear, or what the meeting is about. When you have to answer all those questions first thing in the morning you’re going to experience decision fatigue. By the time you get to work, you’re already going to be tired. Your brain is going to lose the ability to make powerful decisions.”
As a monk, Jay Shetty wore the same thing every day to help eliminate some of the decisions he had to make. Shetty still applies this simplicity to his life by purchasing the same clothes in different colors. It is one less decision that he has to make in the morning, and it cuts down on decision fatigue.
How can you cut down on decision fatigue?
Identify some of the decisions you make daily that distract you from getting things done. Maybe it is what to eat or wear. Take some time after eating your evening meal to make some of those decisions for the next day, and you’ll have fewer decisions to make in the morning.
“Studies show that even judges in court cases make better decisions after lunch because they can make more accurate judgment calls after they’ve eaten,” Jay Shetty shares. “So this is the best time for you to decide what’s happening the next day. Ideally, meal prep and deciding what you’re going to wear are two things that will stop you from being distracted the next day.”
Studies show that 330 billion emails are sent each day. You may feel like your inbox contains them all at times. When you start your day with email, you are focused on whatever others need or want instead of focusing on yourself.
“There are certain roles where you might need to look at email to do your own work, and that’s fine,” explains Jay Shetty. “But you want to start with the things that are important to you, your manager, or your team. Do not start with the stuff that is important to someone else. I always tell everyone on my team that I don’t want them to start the day with email. I want them to start their day with purpose, their to-do list, or the work they want to achieve today.”
There is nothing wrong with checking your email throughout the day, but don’t make it your top priority. Constantly checking your email can leave you feeling unaccomplished or unfulfilled because it takes away from the tasks you want to accomplish. If you need to start the day with them, prioritize which ones you will deal with first.
“Use the first three hours of the day to get stuff done, then set an email check in,” Jay Shetty explains. “You’re going to do this in the middle and towards the end of the day as well. This is when you’re going to respond to everyone. Now you may find you missed an email here or there, but I promise you that you’re going to be so much more productive and effective when you start with the work you really, truly want to do.”
This strategy will help you avoid distractions and be more focused.
Create a Soothing Audio Environment
What do you hear in your workspace? Do you hear other people talking or cars passing by? Maybe you work from home, and your family is milling around, or the birds are chirping outside your window. Have you ever thought about what environment you work best in?
For Jay Shetty, a quiet workspace is what works best. He is not a fan of noise or distractions, so he uses his noise-canceling headphones to create the peaceful environment he prefers to work in.
“I’m not listening to any music, but I have headphones on,” explains JayShetty. “The great thing about that is if someone walks into the room, they also think I’m on a call or I’m listening to something, and so they don’t distract me either. “The idea is that you want to create the audio experience that is best for you.”
Some people like to work with background chatter or music. You need to experiment with every situation to see where you are most productive with the least amount of distractions.
Cognitive load is when your brain tries to make sense of everything it sees and hears. When this happens, you waste energy trying to make sense of things that are irrelevant to you. Jay Shetty says by building the right audio experience, you save yourself from a lot of stress and fatigue.
Keep Books Everywhere
Books are one of Jay Shetty’s favorite boredom busters. He likes to keep interesting books everywhere he spends time and uses books to deter him from looking at his phone.
If this is a strategy you want to try, make sure the books you choose are books you’re interested in that are readily available to you. Jay Shetty recommends putting them wherever you’re likely to grab them and read a few pages, whether it is on your desk, kitchen table, or by your bed.
“If I find myself mindlessly scrolling on TikTok or Reels or whatever it may be, I question myself about what I am doing,” Jay Shetty shares. “But if I see a great book there, I have something to replace the phone with. If I don’t have something to replace it with, then I might get distracted again by something else on my phone. When you can put that phone down and pick up a book that you want to read or a book that you’ve been trying to read, especially if it’s a self-development book or a personal growth book, it can shift you into action quicker than anything else.”
Books can turn your focus from the mindlessness of your phone into a learning opportunity with nuggets of wisdom or advice about things you are interested in or want to learn more about. Don’t leave those books tucked away in your bag or desk. Get them out and put them in places where you will grab them to read.
Don’t Start the Day With Your Phone
Studies show people look at their phones 52 to 200 times per day. For most people, their phone is a permanent extension of their hand. It’s easy to let every free minute become consumed by glancing at social media feeds or responding to Snapchats.
Starting the day with negativity, drama, or noise from others you see on your phone requires your brain to go from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds upon waking. You’re starting your day with chaos.
“I actually did this as an experiment on myself for seven days, then 30,” Jay Shetty explains. “I woke up with my phone purposely, then I tried waking up without my phone. I promise you the days I woke up without my phone, my thoughts were clear throughout the whole day. I was calmer throughout the whole day. I was less stressed throughout the whole day, and I felt like I was making better decisions because there was just less information.”
We have a need to know everything, so we find ourselves compulsively scrolling TikTok messages or Instagram, checking Facebook, and skimming emails. This can be dangerous, says Jay Shetty. When you feel the need to know everything, you end up feeling overwhelmed and overloaded.
To help combat the need to reach for your phone when you wake up, get yourself a traditional alarm clock, leave your phone in another room, and make sure your phone isn’t with you until you start your workday or your commute. Spend your morning at home eating breakfast and getting ready for work.
Jay Shetty encourages everyone to try it for just one day and see how it transforms your life. To take this a step further, turn off notifications and add a time limit to how much you will use your phone. You can set this limit on your phone so that it locks you out when your time is up for the day.
“Look to see what your phone says you currently use it for and make your limit 25% of what you currently use,” Jay Shetty suggests. “When it blocks you, you will realize how many things you are able to do when you don’t have this distraction. We’re all so distracted in so many ways, the phone does not need to be one of them.”
Create a Visual Environment
What inspires you to be the best version of yourself? Do you have role models you aspire to be or quotes that fire you up and keep you encouraged? Maybe it is a favorite color that motivates you. Whatever it is, Jay Shetty urges you to surround yourself with those things. Paint the wall purple and plaster it with your favorite quotes or pictures of people that inspire you.
Creating a visually pleasing environment keeps you focused on the goals you want to achieve and motivates you to reach your full potential.
Distractions will destroy your potential and waste your time. It leads to feelings of guilt, stress, and pressure. When you choose to follow these principles and advice to remove the boredom from your life, Jay Shetty says you will start to see your productivity increase and your energy rise.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on Jay Shetty ON “6 Ways to Stop Getting Distracted” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.