I’m My Own Worst Enemy When It Comes to Distractions


by Johanna Lubahn


I have a big proposal to write in a short time. It’s an involved proposal and doesn’t follow our standard template. It requires notes from several discussions and several people on our team. I am not a big fan of writing in the first place so this task is a little daunting for me. To meet the deadline, I have blocked out my calendar, set my alarm early every day and cancelled any evening plans. It’s all or nothing right now, and I need all the time I can get. To make it a little more challenging, one of the team is halfway around the world, so talking and getting a plan in place is difficult; thank goodness for email.

But even with all the preparation—the notes, the calls, the emails, the blocked-out calendar time—I find that I still have a distraction: myself. My phone is not ringing right now as most of our team knows I am working on this. I am not receiving a lot of emails. With all this quiet, I somehow find ways to distract myself.

I dilly-dally around, shuffling papers after I type a few things; I look out the window; I change the music; I open the window; I check for emails; I check for voice-mail messages. What’s my problem? I’m not using focal locking for my project. I need to find a time and place to keep myself focused and remind myself to STAY focused. If I don’t, the deadline will come anyway, and I will be tired, cranky and fail to do my best work.

Knowing this, I am recognizing more quickly when I’m distracted. I’m reminding myself to stay focused and getting right back to writing, because I am capable of completing this task. That’s all for now; I’ve got to get back to work.

Johanna Lubahn is Managing Director of Call Center Services for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.




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