What are your defaults?

When I am talking to you about defaults, you may think about the default settings of your phone. Good, then I got you at the right point.

The last time I bought a new phone, I unboxed it turned it on, and it was quite noisy. Not only in terms of volume, but it also sends tons of notifications and always wanted my attention for something.

I canceled that. I went into settings and disabled nearly all the notifications and only left the ones active that is really really necessary. I don't want a phone to control my attention.

Even if you are not that restrictive as I am, you probably also have your times when you are putting your phone on DND (Do-not-disturb) or even turn it off, or into flight mode. That's a good start, really.

We do have a tactic to switch-off distractions coming from electronic devices. But what about the real world? Do you pay attention to your focus there? What about that chatty coworker that comes to your desk, and suddenly you forgot about what you were doing and one hour is over?

But what can I do?

You first need to understand one thing; your time is the most valuable asset that you have. It cannot be replaced; it cannot be filled up again, and therefore, it is worth protecting it. When this second is over, it's over, it doesn't come back. Tick, tock, next.

It is not rude to look after your time. When someone comes to your desk and starts talking, it's not rude to ask to go back at another time. And trust me, people do accept that. And mostly they even remember that is was rude to disturb you.

Another tactic to avoid this and to avoid feeling rude is headphones. And the best thing, you do not even need music or something to listen to. I am using this for years now, and people seem to accept it as valid to mostly not disturb me anymore. People don't control if they are even plugged in.

On the other hand, in a job like mine, it's also essential to be available to talk. When I am in the office and got headphones on, it basically means I am either in a meeting or I don't want to be disturbed, and people adapt to that.

Plus, you can also define times when you want to be available and when not.

And trust me there, people will adapt to it and get used to it. This also works at home, with your kids or your spouse. Either define signals, like door open/closed, or talk about times.

The Outcome

When you are changing your personal default from being always reachable and distractible to a more focused approach, you will be able to enjoy both sides more.

On the one hand, you can enjoy your focus time more because people don't distract you that easily anymore; on the other hand, when you are in communication mode, you are doing it on purpose and may even look forward to a chat.