Distractions Cost You

Making lots of tiny choices depletes one’s subsequent self-control. ~ Shane Snow, Smartcuts

I get worn out during a workday simply from death by a thousand cuts. Those thousand cuts take the form of the myriad decisions I am confronted with relentlessly.

What do I eat?

What do I wear?

What do I do today?

Should I call someone?


Making choices creates a mental fatigue and depletes our self-control. It becomes harder to stay on course with what we want to do and we get pulled by many things that don’t matter.

Choices wear us out.

I battle the onslaught by seeking to continually get rid of things in my life that make me have to deal with choice. The more I have in my life, the more I have to manage. And that kind of distraction has a cost.

We don’t live in a heavy labor society. We have division of labor, delegation, outsourcing, automation and software to help us with most work.

I’m not trying to conserve my physical energy. I’m trying to protect my mental and emotional health so I can maximize my creativity. For I agree with what Robert Ringer states so clearly:

“It is creativity, not hard work, that’s at the heart of success in any field of endeavor. And in order for a person to have the time to engage in creative thinking, he must learn to work efficiently.”

Much of that efficiency comes from not dealing with decisions that add little to no value to your goals.

I, for one, like achieving my goals and focusing only on getting results. Your ability to keep your choices simple and minimal will keep your mental space cleaner for all those inevitable decisions that will present themselves.

It’s why I adhere to a morning routine where I take care of myself first. The routine helps me relax and prepare for a day mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Reading, push-ups, nutritional food and prayer are part of what helps my creative process.

There’s no cheating. My work is mental and emotional and I can appreciate that willpower, patience and creativity are not in infinite supply. They deplete over the course of a day because of having to make choices.

I also continually purge and minimize. This does wonders for keeping the decks clear and allowing me to get to the heart of what matters in my workflow. I don’t want to be dealing with objects, tools or distractions that pull my attention away from reading, writing and serving clients.

There are so many other traps when it comes to relationships, penny-wise-dollar-foolish matters and outdated projects that have run their course. I try to keep those off of my radar by getting rid of those energy-sapping things that only create stress without results.

Creativity is what matters and that does not come without a vigilance around protecting your life from distractions. It takes laser-focus.

Do you feel worn out and feel like you are lacking progress towards your goals? How could you create the habit of removing distractions?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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