A Call to Focus (Pun Intended)

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting around 30 thousand spam calls a day.

OK, I exaggerate. But sometimes it feels like that.

Anytime an actual phone number shows up on my caller ID, I know it’s from someone I don’t know.

When my Mom calls, it says Mom. When my wife calls, it says Elaine. When a telemarketer calls, there’s a local area code followed by a random string of digits.

Having made the mistake of answering those “local” calls too many times, I’ve been trained to recognize them as spam.

If you pick up the phone, even if only to say “hello,” it’s a distraction. Hell, the act of deciding whether to accept the call is a distraction.

And while spam calls are easy to identify and avoid, dozens of other distractions interrupt you every day, preventing you from working on what matters.

The trick is to recognize them.

Unfortunately, they aren’t as easy to identify as a telemarketing call.

They’re disguised as fake signs of hunger, drawing you into an open refrigerator for 10 minutes as you consider what to eat. They’re camouflaged as “important” emails that cannot wait for a response. They’re masked as colleagues stopping by, whining about office politics, waiting for you to deliver some sympathy.

Each one of these distractions will drag you into a series of thoughts and decisions that have no bearing on your goals.

Each one is no better than a spam call.

Each one will interrupt you.

If you let it.

Be vigilant. Remain wary of time sinks just as you are of unknown callers. Don’t pick up when one of these distractions “dials.” Don’t engage.

Ignore them, avoid them, and keep focused on those tasks that align with your goals, your vision, your mission, your purpose.

But, should you accidentally find yourself distracted, hang up on that distraction as fast as you would a telemarketer asking for your credit card number.

No need to say, “thank you for calling.” No need to say, “goodbye.”

Just hang the fuck up and let that distraction go calling on someone else.

If you can avoid answering every distraction like you avoid answering spam calls, you’ll find a tremendous amount of time returned to your day.