Everywhere you turn there is something distracting us from being our best self. I am pretty sure at some point in the last ten years you have driven yourself crazy from not getting something done, but can’t quite put your finger on why not. Unfortunately, you are not the only one these days. Millions of people daily wander home from a long day at work, a “good” practice session or playing and wonder, did I get anything done today? You go to work the next day and it “feels” the same but you get less done and feel even more frustrated. This can be your distractions. I know you had your earbuds in and you were listening to music or a podcast and thought there was no way you were distracted. 100 percent WRONG!!!
You may think you are bullet proof when it comes to your attention span and how you can get things done, but in today’s society it is rare for someone to be able to go without being distracted, especially if you have not created a good work environment. That means when you practice or play your preparation efforts should start well before you need to perform a task. What?? It means that if you want to have a productive practice session, know beforehand what challenges you may face and have a plan. What is the backup plan if your environment isn’t what you thought it would be?
Guess what? You will always have distractions in life so it’s a good idea to learn how to manage them, not avoid them. I know, this sounds contradictory but knowing how to deal with distractions by having a plan and sticking to the plan second by second, minute by minute will help you build a better “work” environment. There will be times that even the best gets distracted by little trivial things, such as noise, car horns, even themselves – however the number one distraction is the smartphone! We have all become used to it being with us 24/7 and even though it may be on music you like or on silent, you can hear it. Again, I know, hear it when on silence? YES. It is called anticipatory response, you are waiting for it to ding, ring, show an incoming call or message. You should be engaged with the task at hand, yet you are loosely engaged with the phone. In an hour practice or work session, you will typically be interrupted by your smartphone 8 times in the hour. There is research that shows more, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt! For junior golfers out there, this can mean a 2 to 5-minute distraction every time you see or hear a message come in. By the way, if you are working to improve your mechanical or technical skill while listening to music, you ARE distracted from the task. It is another thing if you have succeeded in mastering a movement or skill, listening to music while warming up or hitting balls can be a pleasurable distraction, but NOT when learning. Your brain can not multitask, therefore acquiring new skills or information will be slower to process and learned. In an hour practice session having 8 distractions stopping you from being totally engaged, you potentially are sacrificing 40 minutes of time, time that you think you may be improving, but it will fail to stick. If you committed to practicing for 2 hours you will only get the benefit of 40 minutes of total engagement.
If you want to learn how to deal with distractions, turn off the smartphone, music and other devices, listen to the environment around you, breathe, be patient, allow your focus to stay on task at hand. After several attempts you will learn how to overcome the distractions and perform much better because on the golf course you don’t get to listen to music! You will gain valuable time back and have deeper engagement, not only in your golf practices and play, but also in life! (You’re welcome mom and dad. Lol!)
Enjoy Your Journey!