Episode 207. Mastering Your Distractions and Building a Positive Relationship with Focus

February 21, 2024

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Are you aware of your distractions? A distraction can be anything that prevents us from giving our full attention to what we truly desire to focus on. It can be as simple as a digital device, an individual, or even a lack of direction. Distractions can hinder our progress, divert our attention from our priorities, and disrupt our lives. Acknowledging the existence of distractions is the first step towards effectively combating them.

Changing our relationship with distractions takes time and practice. We must recognize that it is a journey of continuous improvement. As we adhere to our boundaries and consciously redirect our attention, we build new neural pathways. Over time, our minds become accustomed to this more focused and productive way of operating.

In a world filled with distractions, it is crucial to build a healthy relationship with them to optimize our time and energy. By acknowledging distractions, understanding our relationship with them, and setting effective boundaries, we can regain control over our attention and focus. Minimizing distractions enables us to work towards our goals with intention, productivity, and personal growth. Embrace the journey of managing distractions and watch as your productivity soars to new heights!

woman sitting on couch smiling

[00:00:00] Wendi: Hey sis, welcome to Beyond the Military Podcast, where faith led military women overcome burnout and create more balance. Just imagine having enough time to focus on your faith, family, and have more fun while still serving as a woman leader. In this podcast, you will walk away with the tools to help you navigate the busy life of a military woman, organize your mind, overcome overwhelm, and create a prioritization playbook and a balanced blueprint for integrating faith, family, and career.

[00:00:28] Wendi: Yeses in that order. Hi, I’m Wendi Wray, woman of God, wife, mama of two, army veteran, and certified life coach. And I’m here to help you create a life of meaning outside of the military, a life of laughter, joy, and intentional free time. If you are ready to overcome burnout and create balance as a faith led military woman, sis, this podcast is for you.

[00:00:50] Wendi: So loosen up your laces and grab your coffee because it’s time to step into freedom and peace.

[00:00:55] Wendi: Hello lady. And welcome to episode 207. I am [00:01:00] so excited that you’re here today. And I hope you’re ready to take notes because today we’re talking about distractions and most importantly, what is your relationship with your distraction or distractions? Because we are living in a distracted world. And we also, have a lot of goals.

[00:01:20] Wendi: There are so many things going on. So many things needing our attention. So we’re distracted and we are limited with the time that we do have, because of so many things that require our attention, which is good and bad of course, but how do we keep a balance? And I want to start with identifying a relationship with the distractions, because most of the time. And, you know, won’t talk with you here. Because this was me.

[00:01:47] Wendi: At one point I was living in a place where I didn’t want to even face my distractions. Like I was constantly thinking that it wasn’t a distraction and I had it under control when it really, it [00:02:00] was a distraction. And so today I want to encourage you to face your distraction and really ask yourself what is your relationship with your distraction?

[00:02:08] Wendi: And I’ll tell you why it’s very important. But first I want to begin with what is a distraction, because most of you may be thinking like, I don’t really have distractions. Like I got it handled. I’m productive. I get things done. Not fully concerned or worried about distractions. And so I want to start with. What is the distraction and it’s a thing that prevents you or someone from giving your full attention to some thing or something else. In most cases, what you want to get done. Your priorities, your family, your values. That’s what I mean when it comes to knowing what is distracting you, what is a distraction?

[00:02:48] Wendi: So is this one thing or there’s one person preventing you from giving your full attention to this task, to your family, to your [00:03:00] routine, whatever it may be. And if the answer is yes. Or it’s okay. We all have distractions. And if you’re like, I really don’t know if this is this, this is a distraction.

[00:03:09] Wendi: Or you want to export some warm, keep tuning in because today we are going to focus on. Understanding a relationship with a distraction and then figuring out a solution to minimize that distraction, because this is what we’re all here about. We are going to be more productive with the limited time that we do have. This is what I’m all about being as productive as possible, doing the things that you can do with the time that you do have. And if we don’t have the time, how do we then. Become resourceful.

[00:03:39] Wendi: How do we then figure out a way to find the time. Because listen, we are constantly needed somewhere. I get it. Especially as women, we are constantly. Needed at work at home by her loved ones by our little ones that need us. But just different things or friends or family. [00:04:00] And so we want to be able to not only produce what we want to produce, the outcomes, the results, but we also want to set time for ourselves.

[00:04:10] Wendi: We want to be able to do things. Without being instructed. We want to be able to do as much as we can in a very limited amount of time. We want to put in the deep work, in focus in order to get things done to its full potential. Especially when it comes to serving people, we want to be able to do that. From a place of intention from a place of just being there, present.

[00:04:37] Wendi: And so again, this is what this podcast is all about. Being able to do things in a way where it’s going to serve you and others. And so what is a relationship I want to also go there. Our relationship is when you have thoughts about that, one thing, your thoughts about this person, your thoughts about this thing. Because when we can then identify those thoughts, [00:05:00] those thoughts are going to create that emotion for us.

[00:05:02] Wendi: So you sometimes may be thinking like, okay, I have a negative relationship with this individual or this one thing. I have a positive relationship with his individual or this one thing, and it starts with our thoughts. So that’s, what’s going to create if it’s a positive, neutral, or even a negative emotion and negative relationship with. That one thing or that one individual, right?

[00:05:22] Wendi: Because a distraction can also be an individual. Trust me, we have many individuals that are not necessarily doing it on purpose, but they are going to distract us because we won’t be able to fully. Give her attention to that one specific task or even thing, or even individual as well. And so we want to identify that relationship and how do we do it?

[00:05:45] Wendi: We identify the thoughts that we’re having about. That thing or that individual. And so the way I do this, and I encourage you to do this today. Is to first. Ask yourself, you know, [00:06:00] How do I know if this is really distracting me? And again, if it’s keeping you preventing you to give your full attention to something, that’s one way, but also is this helping you build onto your personal desires and your goals?

[00:06:14] Wendi: Is it helping you make progress? Is it helping you grow? Is it giving you a positive response? If the answer is no, then it’s distracting you from. Your desires from what you need to be focusing on. And this is how, you know, if it’s distracting you, because you’re constantly getting sucked into this one thing. And you’re possibly sometimes ending up in that space, unaware or unconsciously, and you go into like this autopilot mode. And you’re also not seeing any progress or it’s not helping you move in the right direction.

[00:06:48] Wendi: It’s not aligned with your goal. It’s not aligned with where you need to be at in this milestone per se. And so there are different types of distractions. Like I said earlier, it could be an individual. It could be. [00:07:00] Um, so it could be people, it could be as simply as a digital thing, it could even be sometimes time, right?

[00:07:07] Wendi: Like you can. Keep thinking that you don’t have enough time or the time that you do have, it’s still distracting you from the time that you wish you had. And so another big one is the, um, lack of direction. We get distracted because we’re like, okay, we really don’t have a plan. Don’t want to get to the plan.

[00:07:28] Wendi: So we’re just not going to do this one thing. And we’re going to allow it to distract me by over-planning or just sitting there and thinking that somehow I’m going to get a plan and, you know, start working from, you know, a, through Z. And so again, a lack of direction can be a distraction, especially when you want to over plan, when you want to over plan and over plan, and then you do nothing about it. And my favorite one, the [00:08:00] broken focus. When your focus is broken, that pretty much means that you are not able to focus on this specific thing. Because there’s something constantly that’s filling, helping you or making you feel uncomfortable. And so for that it’s most of the time where you try to sit down and you want to write a paragraph or write an email or do something that requires your mind to think. And you’re like, you know what, instead of doing that, I’m going to go find something that’s more comfortable or something that’s more pleasurable because I don’t want to do this one thing.

[00:08:38] Wendi: So you. Break focus intentionally. You’re like you do this ahead of time. ’cause you’re like, Nope, I’m just not gonna sit here uncomfortable. I’d rather go get something from the pantry or I’d rather go do something else. And so again, These are the types of distractions. And then now how do we know what distraction or sorry, what [00:09:00] relationship we have with our distractions? We figured out the thoughts that we’re having about this destruction. So the example that I’m going to use is my phone, because for many, many years, my phone was my very number one top distraction on, um, really keeping me away from doing the things. And again, it’s something that I’m still working on refining and minimizing because yes, it’s still a distraction at times.

[00:09:23] Wendi: Not as much as I used to be, but yes, it can be. And I want to say that also it is a huge distraction for a lot of people. Because it’s so easy to access, it’s easily accessible and it’s there in, has everything on your phone. At least I do everything on my phone. From my calendar, my click up, um, things that I need to focus on.

[00:09:46] Wendi: I have my cloudlets connected with a document that’s on. Sometimes I need, I have Adobe, everything that I need readily available is on my phone to include the photos that I might need. Um, so many things [00:10:00] that keeps me going, but also can limit my attention and can distract me like social media. I have my, um, streaming apps on there.

[00:10:09] Wendi: I have pretty much anything and everything that every other individual on this planet has because of how this world is now. Um, we’re living in a distracted world. And so again, how are we using this for us instead of against us? And so now that I’ve gotten so much better with my phone so much better with how I am using it to serve me, I want to offer this as an example. So, again, whatever your distraction may be, I’m using my phone.

[00:10:39] Wendi: As the example for you, maybe an individual for you, it may be social media for you. It may be Netflix, food, alcohol, um, it, an activity, whatever it may be. Identify it, and here is how I want you to focus on figuring out the thoughts that you have. Like I said earlier, is this helping me build [00:11:00] onto my desires.

[00:11:01] Wendi: So for the most part, yes, it does because it keeps me accountable. With my tasks, with my routine, with what I have coming up in the notifications that I have set. Already to help me focus on my day. Now how it helps you make progress. It’s because it also helps me upload content and helps me. Um, record content like I’m doing now, even though I’m doing this for my computer, but there’s other things that I record on there, voice memo.

[00:11:27] Wendi: I text it to myself. It helps me stay current on what I want to produce, what I want to create. And so the way these thoughts that are coming up for me, I don’t have to write them down, but I know that it’s a neutral relationship. I feel neutral about it. It’s helping me. Um, it’s a place where I can go and actually journal because now there’s actually an app where you can journal and you don’t have to physically write it.

[00:11:50] Wendi: So I love that you could do that. There’s so many things that I could do with it that saved me time. And so now on the other end of that is the negative, right? The [00:12:00] thoughts that I have that are creating this negative emotion for me of, you know, disappointment. Okay. I got sucked in again to Instagram for 15 minutes instead of five.

[00:12:09] Wendi: Okay, great. What do I need to do, um, to help me not only have this negative emotion, but also how do I help to, um, minimize that distraction? And so for you, maybe an individual, right? Maybe someone that’s constantly needing your attention constantly coming to you at times that you know, are not helpful or are not serving you or that individual. And so again, what what’s coming up for you?

[00:12:37] Wendi: What are those thoughts? You identify it. You sit with it for a minute yearly, ask yourself, how can I now move? Into creating an ultimate summary of this relationship that I have. Is it a negative, is it neutral or is it positive? I say that for me, it’s neutral relationship that I have with my phone and I’m working on it to be fully positive. [00:13:00]

[00:13:00] Wendi: So meaning that I want to minimize my distractions as much as possible. And it’s okay if you have a negative relationship with your distraction, because I’m going to give you the solution for that today. And it’s very simple. And so let’s just say you do have a negative relationship with that individual or the thing. This is how I want you to go about minimizing that distraction, because it’s going to be there. My phone and my social media apps are going to be there. Because here’s what happens when we try to lie to ourselves.

[00:13:31] Wendi: When we try to resist that negative emotion, when we try to avoid that negative emotion, what happens 99.9% of the time we are going to find ourselves into another distraction. We’ll find something else to distract us because we’re so. Into this negative emotion or not wanting to be into this negative emotion and not feel this discomfort of negative emotion. That we find something else to distract us.

[00:13:54] Wendi: So for example, Let’s say it’s an individual for you. Let’s say there’s someone that’s [00:14:00] constantly distracting you. They’re calling you, they’re texting you at whatever time and it’s just, it keeps happening and you. Constantly keep getting distracted. Then what you may do in order to avoid that negative feeling or disappointment, or you don’t want to disappoint someone else. You then possibly pick up the phone or text someone, letting them know.

[00:14:20] Wendi: Now gossiping about this individual. That’s distracting. You. Or let’s just say, for example, for me, it’s my phone or more specifically a social media form. Like, you know what. I’m just going to completely delete the apps. I don’t want this to be in my life anymore. I’m going to go get a snack because now every time that I’m uncomfortable, instead of going to the social media. I’m going to go to food because our, again, our minds want to find something that is going to help us feel pleasure.

[00:14:47] Wendi: That is going to help us avoid pain. That is going to. Um, keep us in a place where we don’t use a lot of effort. And so again, when we try to suppress, when we try to resist, when we try to [00:15:00] avoid that one distraction that we know is a distraction. Our brain is going to offer us another distraction. So this is why I emphasize. That we are clear with where we are in a relationship with your distraction, with our own distractions. And Nick a knowledge that it’s a distraction of knowledge. That is preventing us to give her full attention. To the one thing we want to give her full attention to.

[00:15:26] Wendi: Right. So if you think about it, most of the time you identify your distraction. If you’re trying to do something that requires you to focus. And whatever. It takes you to, so if it takes you to social media, if it takes you to your email, if it takes you to your, um, Netflix app, if it takes you to a conversation or a text. That is. Wanting to, um, distract you. From that one thing that you need to do, then that is your distraction.

[00:15:55] Wendi: If it’s keeping you away from getting anything done, creating anything, building or making [00:16:00] progress on your goal, it’s a distraction. And so you, one way, identify your relationship with your distraction so that you don’t create another distraction because you want to not face the current distraction that you have. And so this is why it’s so important for you to identify what it is. Identify your relationship and then create a solution to minimize that distraction because that’s the only thing we can do is minimize that distraction so that we can then go into a deep focus. Do deep work. And be able to produce results at a higher level. Because we want to focus on the things that we need to get done. And maybe even the things that we don’t want to get done, right?

[00:16:41] Wendi: Like writing a paper, like writing an email. Anything that requires your full attention or mind. You’re going to be like, that’s not a great idea. Let’s find something pleasurable to do as well. Let’s go get something to eat. Let’s go. I don’t know, drink. Let’s go wash in a flex. Let’s go get on social media.

[00:16:59] Wendi: Let’s see what’s going [00:17:00] on with Instagram. Cause that’s what my, my mind tells me. Let’s see. What’s going on. Let’s get some laughter in. And so we want to be able to minimize that distraction to help us. Get things done with the very limited amount of time that we have, because let’s face it. We’re all busy women.

[00:17:15] Wendi: If you’re in the military, you’re busy 10 to 12 hours a day. So you have a certain amount of time after work or before work to get what you want to get done for your own sake, for your own personal desires, maybe planning for the future. Maybe it’s just as simple as just setting time for you to get some. Um, some, some time for yourself, some dedicated time for you, for your wellbeing, for your mental health. And so it’s so important for us to identify that, identify what the destruction is and understand our relationship with the distraction. So if it’s a negative relationship, completely fine, neutral. Good.

[00:17:55] Wendi: If it’s positive, even better. Because here’s the thing when we identify [00:18:00] what our relationship is. Then we can now create a plan, a solution to help us minimize that distraction. And the way we do it is we set boundaries. And I know you’re probably thinking, okay, I’ve done that before. The, let me offer you this one thing. If we can set a boundary where we are constantly. Constantly focused on just improving. Not necessarily going from zero to 100, but just going from zero to five. And then from five to 10, so on and so forth so that our mind can also get used to it because what we’re doing here is we’re building. Another, um, neural pathway that is going to allow our brain to remind ourselves that okay.

[00:18:47] Wendi: As long as we’re getting better, this is okay. We don’t necessarily need to completely go from having all the social media apps to deleting them. Or to deleting and deactivating them, because like I said, we’re going [00:19:00] to create another distraction for us. That’s what our brain wants to do. So we create a boundary and how do we do this? We first want to identify what are we setting a boundary on.

[00:19:10] Wendi: Right. And what does that look like? So I love this book that I have here in front of me. Boundaries by Dr. Henry cloud and Dr. John Thompson. Highly recommend you get this book because it gives you, I mean, What is the boundary, breaks it down the myths. And it gives you a plan for you to create boundaries with your spouse, with your kids. With yourself, with God, with digital technology, the digital world, it’s such a great book, highly recommend it.

[00:19:40] Wendi: And I’m also going to link it in the show notes. But the example that he gives is pretty much thinking of a boundary as if, um, if it were your home. Right? So it could be the boundaries of these walls within this room. It could be out. The outside boundaries, you have a fence or you just have, you know, a [00:20:00] line of what is your property, right?

[00:20:02] Wendi: What is, you know, your left and right limits. Um, and that’s how you know that that’s, those are your boundaries, right? And you can’t go further than that. If not, you’re out of your home, you’re outside of the boundaries. It’s we’ll think about it too. In an emotional. Um, in an emotional way. What is it? That you want to now. Due to have your left and right limits with this distraction. So the example that I like to give. Is my phone, right?

[00:20:30] Wendi: I’m only going to check my phone when I know I need. Um, something out of it. So for example, not for pleasure, but for, you know, my weekly routine, checking that agenda only checking my email in the morning. Only having a summary of notifications at certain times. So what that looks like for me, and I’ll probably do a whole separate video on this, but. For me is having only a notification summary of certain times and that to 7:00 AM and at 6:00 PM. [00:21:00] Um, Sorry, and also 12:00 PM.

[00:21:02] Wendi: So at 7:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM. The reason I do a summary notifications and that includes for my social media. Unless it’s a direct message. But what I have for my social media apps and most, almost all of my apps. R for me to have a summary, um, notification. So for apple, I’m not sure about Android, but for iPhone, you can have a summary notification provided to you at certain times, whatever time you, you allow it to do so. And I think that that’s a beautiful thing because now you know that at seven in the morning, I’m going to have this summary of notifications of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, anything that requires my attention, my click up it’ll give me a summary.

[00:21:45] Wendi: This is what you need to do today. This is the notifications that you had on Facebook. Here is something, a new podcast, whatever it may be. I get all of those at one time. So then what happens? I check it at seven in the morning and I know exactly what I need to [00:22:00] focus my attention to. Because it’s provided to me, same thing for 12 o’clock, same thing for 6:00 PM. Now, I mean, not me in front of my phone or those at those times, but when I do after 7:00 AM, after 12:00 PM, after 6:00 PM. I am now given a list of what I need to focus my attention to for a certain amount of time.

[00:22:17] Wendi: So I give myself 10 minutes to review, look, respond to whatever I need to do for that timeframe. And then on top of that, I also give myself no more than 15 minutes to be on social media in the morning. Because that’s just something simply that my mind. It helps my mind to see it before I get, um, too focused into my daily.

[00:22:42] Wendi: Um, my daily work, my daily routine, whatever I need to do drop off the kids. That way it gives me. Um, kind of, I’m doing this ahead of time versus my mind trying to get into the app at nine in the morning when I’m fully into my work into other things [00:23:00] that are requiring my attention. And so again, what boundaries are you setting for yourself?

[00:23:07] Wendi: And now here’s the other important thing. So I give myself a time. I give myself the space, write what it is. For example, my phone, the apps and notifications, what apps I’m in. But also a consequence. So now let’s say I’m in there late, um, longer than 15 minutes, which by the way, I have done many, many times. And not this week, but weeks before. When I was literally, um, focusing on how can I create my real content, um, for those of you that are not on Instagram reels are pretty much videos, short videos that you can post in order for you to engage with your community, with your followers and other non followers. And so I noticed that I was in there longer than I intended, but I was like, you know what, I’m going to now adjust. And if I do it even longer than the time that I set for myself, I can’t come on the [00:24:00] app until tomorrow. And so I had to really tell my brain that I could not get on the app again in the evening, because I could only now do it until the next day, because that was the consequence that I set for myself because now I’ve. Went, um, more or the time was way more than I intended.

[00:24:17] Wendi: And so that is the consequence that I give myself. And so again, what consequence have you set? Within your boundary. So for example, let’s just say this individual calls you. Um, at the times that, you know, are not helpful for you and you say, Hey, Hey Wendi, I would really appreciate if you don’t call me between these hours because I’m working.

[00:24:38] Wendi: This is when I’m getting things done. This is when I focus my time on family or whatever it may be. I’m completely busy. Please. Don’t call me during these times. Here are the times that you can call me. If you call me during these times that. Asked for you not to call me, then I will not answer the phone call. And I will call you back during the, a lot of times. You know, here’s, what’s going to happen. Bringing immediately is going to be like, oh my [00:25:00] gosh, this is so harmful and hurtful.

[00:25:01] Wendi: And. You shouldn’t do this. Just take the call. Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. But here’s the thing you’re only hurting yourself and you’re not setting boundaries. And when we don’t set boundaries or distractions take over. And so this is one way for you to start minimizing. Minimizing distractions by setting those boundaries with a timeframe and also a consequence. And so again, the consequence they call you at that time that you told them not to call you, you don’t answer. And you allow it to be okay.

[00:25:31] Wendi: It’s going to be uncomfortable at first. It’s like me setting my notifications setting. My summary notifications was very uncomfortable at the very beginning, but I did this as soon as this feature came out, tried it for a couple months and next thing you know him, I’m like, oh, this is great. I’m looking forward to 12:00 PM now because I’m going to get all my notifications. Now I said earlier that my direct messages come directly to me at whatever time they come to me. Now I have the option to respond to them. If I’m able [00:26:00] to, or not respond to them, if I’m not available. If I do, that means that I was available.

[00:26:06] Wendi: And if I don’t, that means that I wasn’t available. And I can tell myself that in the future, because sometimes I don’t notice them until 20 minutes later, three hours later. And I’m okay with that. Because again, our mind is going to want to tell us that we did a terrible job at not responding right away.

[00:26:24] Wendi: That’s another thing our minds want to trick us into saying you need to respond right away because we’re so used to it, right. Especially in the military, we’re constantly told that we need to respond right away the quicker, the better. And it’s like, no. We sometimes need to take a moment to respond because we are not readily available and it’s okay because you’re focused on doing other things and that’s completely okay. Because you want to also be honest with yourself, are you doing what it takes? To keep making progress in your personal life, in your career. And just [00:27:00] growing in general. And if you want to minimize your distractions, you will start here.

[00:27:05] Wendi: You’ll start with, what is your relationship with the distraction? And you will also then implement a boundary to help you minimize that distraction. And I want to offer you that it’s going to take some time. It’s not going to happen right away. You’re not going to be like, oh my gosh, I have this boundary set.

[00:27:21] Wendi: I’m good to go. And it’s working flawlessly. It’s not going to happen that way. You’re going to miss a couple of days or you’re going to have to go through the consequences a couple of times. And it’s okay. What I wanna offer you today is to begin here, to begin with what distractions you have. Your relationship with distractions and setting a boundary because that’s the only way that you’re going to minimize that distraction.

[00:27:44] Wendi: And it begins by. Awareness acknowledgement and just doing and doing the binary and following through because that’s, what’s going to help you to continue to move in the right direction. And listen, if you’re someone that you’re like, okay, I need some [00:28:00] accountability. I need someone to help me start.

[00:28:02] Wendi: I want to invite you to schedule a free consultation with me, where you and I are going to go over this distraction. And we’re going to implement steps on how we can minimize the distraction on top of these tips that I gave you here today. And all you have to do is scroll down and schedule a consult with me.

[00:28:18] Wendi: Or also you can go to All right, ladies, I hope that this episode encourages you to start minimizing your distraction and improving your relationship with your distraction. All right. I hope you have a blessed rest of the week. Have a great day. Talk to you soon. Bye.

[00:28:38] Wendi: Hey lady, if this podcast helped you, challenged you, or inspired you in some way, please leave me a written review for the show on Apple Podcasts and share it with another military sister. Helping you integrate balance, prioritization, and growth in your relationship with God is my ultimate calling. I’m so blessed that you are here, and please join us in the faith led military women community [00:29:00] on Facebook at Again, it is. All right. Talk to you soon. Bye