Do you ever feel like there is SO much you want to do, but you can never find the time to do it?  Why is that?  It was a huge mystery to me, until I started keeping track of my time.  Then the mystery was solved – a lot of it was due to distractions! 

Once I noticed this, then I started being more intentional with my time.  I put in some action steps to help me reduce the distractions – and gained back my precious time!

Four Distractions to Remove from Your Environment

With so many different things going on around us, it’s no wonder that we’re easily distracted.  But with a few simple actions every day, we can do a lot to minimize the distractions in our environment.  Here’s the top 4 actions that I took to regain my sanity!

#1: Turn Off Notifications

“Ping, Ping”.  What happens when you hear that sound?  Chances are, as soon as you hear it, you’re stopping to check your phone.  Counter this reaction by turning off all non-essential notifications (email, social media, games, etc).  Remind yourself that you’re not missing anything important.  You can go through these notifications later, when the time is appropriate.

#2: Remove Clutter

I am one of those people who has a lot of clutter, especially paper clutter, around me.  It didn’t really bother me, that is until I met my husband.  My husband hates clutter – he says it distracts him.  He’s always tidying up.  And now that I’m not used to having clutter around, it does bother me (although, not as much as my husband).  I hate to admit it, but clutter is a distraction.  To prevent clutter from overwhelming you, make it a habit to do a quick 10-minute tidy up at the end of the day (or find someone to do it for you!). 

#3: Follow the “One-Minute” Rule

When we constantly put something off it becomes a distraction.  That’s because our minds will take us through all our unfinished tasks.  So, instead of putting something off, follow this simple rule.  If a task can be done in a minute, do it immediately.  Ironically, I have found that following this rule has freed up my time!

#4: Keep a To-Do List

Whether you use an app or paper, write down any tasks that you want to do as soon as you think about it.  This allows you to get it off your mind immediately.  Then, set aside a time each day to review your list.  First thing in the morning works the best.  Schedule when things will be done – that day, next week, next month.  Be sure to be realistic in how much time it will take to get something done.  Also, set aside free time for things that will need to be done right away.  Now you’re ready to tackle the items scheduled for that day, without worrying or thinking about any of your other tasks.

Four Distractions to Remove from Your Mind

Sometimes, it’s not the things around us that distract us, it’s our own thoughts!  These distractions are huge ones for me.  I have noticed that they tend to come up more when I am tired.  Knowing that, I have made exercise my highest priority.  When I get enough exercise, it helps me to sleep through the night.  My favourite exercise is walking, proving that it doesn’t have to be complicated or involve going to the gym.  Just pick an active that you love and that keeps you moving. 

#1: Dwelling on Regrets

Everyone has regrets – something they did or didn’t do, something they said or didn’t say, opportunities not taken and even situations where we stayed too long.  Regrets are a part of life.  But we can’t change the past.  All we can do is learn from it and move on.  Recognize your regrets and if you can do something to remedy the situation, like offering an apology, then do it.  Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself.  Most importantly, live in the present.

#2: Focusing Too Much on the Future

Have you ever counted down the days until the weekend or your next vacation?  While it is good to plan for the future, it’s also important to be present in the moment.  By looking to add joy to everyday life, we can add so much happiness to our lives.  Simple things can bring joy and contentment – the funny thing your child says, feeling the sun on your face, watching the sunset.  Remind yourself each day to pause and savour the moment.

#3: Aiming for Perfection

Striving for excellence and doing our best are important.  It leads us to self-development, producing quality work that we can be proud of and can give us a sense of fulfilment.  But perfection can become the enemy when it prevents us from finishing anything.  Or even worse, when perfection stops us from even trying because we’re so certain that our efforts will fail.  Instead of perfection, aim for progress or good enough.  That’s the sure way to make progress and keep moving forward in our lives.

#4: Comparing Ourselves to Others

It’s human nature to compare things, including ourselves.  Unfortunately, social media has made comparisons too easy.  It’s too easy to see what someone has and think, “Why don’t I have that?” without understanding the whole picture.  The only thing comparison does is to steal your joy.  Comparing yourself to others only turns your focus to what you don’t have, rather than appreciating what you do have.

Distractions prevent us from reaching our full potential.  As Joshua Becker once wrote, “Our fullest potential requires that we notice distraction – and work diligently to overcome it.”

What distractions are harming you?  Review the tips above and then put an action plan in place of how you will overcome your distractions.

Until my next blog post, here’s wishing you lots of joy and happiness!
With love,


Hi! I'm Joanne. I’m a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA). Money management is a life skill that I passionately believe all people need to learn. As an accountant, I love helping people understand numbers and money. At BuildingJoyAndHappiness, I share my tips to money management and make understanding finances simple.

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