Focus is a limited and fragile resource that keeps being poisoned by intrusions of all sorts. Those intrusions slow you down and trigger bad habits.
Ex: An Instagram notification can trigger a chain reaction of checking all your apps and loosing half of your afternoon.
Spot & cope your toxic triggers so you can protect your focus, energy, and results.
A lack of focus cause slower progress and in the worst case, failure. Attention is fragile and the modern world is full of intrusive, random, and powerful triggers that attack it.
4 powerful steps to kill your most toxic triggers
Finding your own triggers
Some sneaky triggers are so automatic to us that we don’t even realize that they are disturbing.
We are going to introduce you to the most dangerous triggers regarding your attention, time, and energy.
Before starting, we encourage you to find your own triggers, as they can be personal. We explain in depth here how to easily find your sneakiest triggers.
To do that, normally go into your day but take note of the causes that pull you away from your work. If you want to be sure you don’t miss any, especially the one that are automatic, record yourself while you are working. Watch the recording in accelerated and catch what is disturbing you. You can also work with a friend and agree to point out each time one of you is getting disturbed by something.
The most widespread toxic triggers
This not limited list can help you identifying your toxic triggers:
– People around you
– Pictures or decorations
– Objects for entrainment
– Texts or simple sentences
– Icons or logo (of a game or app for example)
Visual Trigger: Hide them
Out of sight, out of mind. The easiest yet most powerful strategy is to hide bad habits triggers. You don’t want visual clues to constantly remind you to sin, especially if you don’t need them.
In your environment it means hiding or covering devices.
On your devices themselves, remove screen notifications. Hide apps by putting them in groups and moving them to the last frame.
Sound triggers: Silent them
Give repeatedly food to a dog while ringing a bell. After a few days, ring the bell and he will start salivating, even if there is no food. Hearing is a well-developed sense that can trigger habits.
On your devices, keep only the sound that are important for safety (calls). You can also filter the people from whom calls and messages are allow to ring. If you are afraid of missing those important emails from your boss, set up the notifications to be played only when the email come from him.
Social triggers: Educate them
Sometimes your social environment will talk about something you are trying to not think about or invite you in behaviors you are trying to stop. Explain to people that you are trying to stop and that you would be glad if they could stay away of it while you are around. This won’t work all the time but by repeating it a few times you may make people understand.
Some bad habits can be hard and painful to cope. For a complete approach on how to get rid of your bad habits, see this course.
3. Reverse triggers
You can also reverse engineering triggers: make them remember you to do something necessary or meaningful. Putting an alarm clock to not forget to go to the gym for example. You can also rewire a bad habit trigger to a better one. For example, when having the munchies, eating an apple rather than candies. It takes a bit of time, but when the habit is setup, it becomes effortless. Learn more how to reverse bad habits into good ones.