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Do Distractions Lead to Success?

We saw an article about distractions and success by The Wall Street Journal. A new study shows that students with attention-deficit disorder achieve more.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Memphis and the University of Michigan. Students with ADD were more likely to have won a prize at an art show or a science fair.

They were higher achievers across the board.

Hear George & Mary-Lynn discuss today’s post on The BIGG Success Show Podcast! Click a player to listen.


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Could it be that lack of focus is a competitive advantage?

Yes, according to another study by researchers at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. They gave students a short test and measured their ability to filter out background noise – like a nearby conversation or an air conditioning running.

The students who struggled to ignore the noise were more likely to be “eminent creative achievers” based on their previous performances.

Daydreamers are more creative

The article also cites research that shows a link between daydreaming and creativity. So instead of getting your head out of the clouds, maybe you should get your head into them!

Entrepreneurs ride an emotional roller coaster. And the highs are higher and the lows are lower. It’s part of the game. Daydreaming may help.

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George KruegerWhen I’m feeling low or I’m feeling a great deal of stress – which often come in one crushing package – I take time to daydream. Sometimes I do it at my computer, but most of the time I rely on the basic tools of pen and paper. As I do a mind dump, I can feel the energy coming back to me. I get that spark of creativity. I begin seeing solutions. It really helps.

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Embrace distractions

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Mary-Lynn FosterI don’t know if it’s my background as a radio DJ – talk about a business with a lot of things going on all at once – I can’t work without background noise. Quiet is a distraction to me!

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BIGG success is life on your own terms. If distractions help you, by all means, get distracted!

Other people are always telling us to focus. Our parents did it. Our teachers did too. Bosses expect it as well.

But sometimes, less structure may lead to better results. Do what works for you.

When you’re trying to think creatively, bring out the distractions! It leads to BIGG success!

Do you work better with distractions?

Thanks so much for spending some time with us today. Until next time, here’s to your BIGG success!

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Image in this post from Colton Witt Photography

How to Stay Focused

on_target.jpgHave you ever met someone who really seemed to have it all?

‘Cause they’ve got personality … walk!

Personality … talk!

Personality … smile!

Well you get the idea! So ends our tribute to Lloyd Price and the song You’ve Got Personality. Back to our regularly scheduled program …

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You know they could be a bigg success, but they just can’t stay focused. They start a project but then something else captures their attention. Kind of like the interruption we just had with the song.

Bright, shiny objects

Liz Strauss calls it Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s easy to succumb to bright, shiny objects. We must overcome these distractions if we want to reach bigg success and live our lives on our own terms.

It begins by creating a vivid image of what you want your life to be. With this long-term vision in mind, you’re ready to break it up step-by-step and set a due date for each step.

That’s called a milestone. It’s our exclusive focus day-to-day. We develop a plan to get to the next milestone. It’s helpful to break that milestone down into terms – a quarter or a month.

Then begin each week by thinking about what you need to accomplish this week to reach your goal for the month. Now that helps you determine what’s most important to get done each day of this week.

Then all you have to do is everything you can every single day to get there!

Today is all that matters

It begins with a prioritized list – what must I do today to hit my goal this week?

By having this focus, it keeps us from being distracted by those bright, shiny objects. Here’s how we do it:

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georgeI love spreadsheets so that’s what I use. I divide my tasks every day by priority – “A priorities” are those things I must do, “B” are what I need to do, and “C” are things I want to do. Then I order the tasks within the categories. So the first thing I work on is my “A1” item.

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marylynnSounds like a steak sauce, George! I like the old-fashioned pen and paper. For me, it works better to write out everything on a legal pad. Then every day, I pull off the most important things I have to do from that paper and put it on a sticky note. I have everything on my main list but I put the most important things front and center. Another thing that I really like about this is getting to crumble up those sticky notes when I’ve finished these important tasks.

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georgeI’m glad you pointed that out, Mary-Lynn. I highlight each item in my spreadsheet as I complete it for the same reason. As the day goes on and I see more and more lines highlighted, I get a tangible sense of accomplishment.

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Avoid bright, shiny objects so you can focus on the bigg prize. Start with your vision of what life on your own terms means to you. Then focus today on what’s most important to get there.

Doing the right things leads to bigg success!

How do you keep yourself on task?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thank you for sharing your time with us today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Next time, we’ll discuss how opportunity is like a flower. Please join us! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post by sachyn)

The Riskiest Thing Most of Us Do Every Day

drivingWe saw a great post by John Grohol at PsychCentral called Distracted While Driving. He really caught our attention with one thought. We allow ourselves to be distracted while we drive because we think we’re playing a race against time. In reality, we’re playing against the odds.

A study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved someone who was distracted within three seconds of the event. 

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georgeI plead guilty as charged. I have to admit to using my car as a roaming second office. I store up phone messages and return calls while I’m on the road. .

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marylynnI’m in the car on a busy, busy day with all these things rolling through my mind. That’s one of the distractions that we often don’t take into account. I zone out … I don’t really pay attention like I should. I’m in my own world. .

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Psychologists have identified four types of distractions, according to Grohol’s article.

  • Visual … checking out an accident or looking at a billboard
  • Audible … cell phone calls, the radio, or another person talking
  • Physical … eating, flipping the dial, shuffling your iPod, or putting on make-up
  • Cognitive … daydreaming, thinking about other things in your life

Of course, a lot of distractions are multi-faceted. For example, talking on your cell phone includes three of these – audible, physical, and cognitive.

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marylynnI really do think it saves time. We have a friend who consults with us. He talks to us when he’s on his hour-and-a-half commute home. I can understand why you would use your phone when you have that long drive.

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georgeI won’t dispute that at all, but I now realize more than ever that I have to recognize the odds of something happening and take measures to try to minimize the distractions.

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Changes we plan to make

  • Leave earlier. When we have a lengthy trip, we usually don’t give ourselves the time to stop and eat. We gas, grab, and go … eating on the road. Leaving earlier will allow us time to stop and eat. We’ll probably eat healthier, too!
  • Ignore the phone. Granted, that’s a hard thing to do. So we’re going to turn our ringers off when we’re only going to be in the car for a short time.
  • Change our greetings. If we’re expecting an important call, we’ll change the greeting to let them know when we will be checking our messages.
  • Pull over (if we can). For those rare situations where we have to take the call, we’ll stop driving momentarily.

What's your biggest distraction while driving? 

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(Image by krilm)

Can You Walk And Chew Gum At The Same Time?

A study at UCLA asked participants to sort index cards with various shapes on them. The researchers divided the participants into two groups:

  • Group 1 sorted their cards with no distractions.
  • Group 2 sorted their cards while listening to, and counting beeps.

The researchers found that the two groups sorted equally well. However, the first group remembered what they sorted better than the second group.

So, something suffers when we multi-task. Doesn’t common sense tell us the same thing?

So why do we all try to do so many things at once?
There are many reasons – because we think we can, we get distracted, we’re bored, maybe we’re really just procrastinating, or perhaps we think it’s a competitive advantage.

The problem is … it’s not productive, because we want to be effective AND efficient.

Multi-tasking can be costly
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that, even with the simplest of tasks, it takes time to mentally switch from one to the other. It may only take a second for your brain to catch up, which doesn’t sound like much. But how many times do we do this in a day? And that’s for the simplest of tasks – more complex tasks can take up to a minute!

Not to mention that, multi-tasking requires us to FOCUS on concentrating rather than ACTUALLY concentrating. It also boosts stress hormones in our brain. So, in the short run, we get less done. In the long run, it’s bad for us.

So are these studies saying that we should NEVER multi-task?

You’ll be happy to know that you can walk and chew gum at the same time, because you’re performing two tasks that have become automatic. You don’t have to think about it anymore!

Many people may argue that checking their e-mail or text messages has become second nature.

But there’s a bigg difference – there’s a second human being in the equation. For the communication to be effective, you have to understand what they said, and what they left unsaid. Then, and only then, can you convey an effective return message.

In other words, you have to THINK!

3 tips to break the addiction

  • Admit that it’s a problem.
    If you don’t see it as a problem, you can’t solve it. This is the first step.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
    Keep one thing in front of you. Everything else should be filed away. If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted. Reward yourself with something you enjoy AFTER you complete each task.
Tell us what you think about multi-tasking!
Share your bigg challenges! Offer your bigg solutions!
Leave us a Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is actually a definition. No one claims it, perhaps for a reason ….

mul•ti-task•ing (mŭl'tē-tăs'kĭng, -tī-) n.
Screwing up everything simultaneously.

So make sure you stay focused so you only screw up one thing at a time!

Next time, we’ll share an ancient Chinese secret to solve all of your problems. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Have you ever been to BINPAO?

By Bigg Success Staff
09-04-08

Peak Performance

binpao 

Now that all we have to do to visit another country, or even another planet, is double click our mouse, there’s no stopping us Web surfers. And, it’s time to space out, both literally and figuratively.

Millions of Americans, young and old, have diagnosed or undiagnosed attention deficit issues, leaving them with an inability to concentrate. While this is assuredly a serious issue for those with true attention-related conditions, I cannot help but wonder how much BINPAO humans have manufactured using our own devices. I have coined BINPAO here, not only because it looks cool in writing and sounds cool (especially the pow! part), but because it reflects accurately what happens to me when I begin using the Internet and all its related technologies.

BINPAO causes me to switch topics, jump around from place to place and generally. Oh wait, I lost my train of thought. See, with my browser open in several windows, I am able to compose these sentences while simultaneously checking the weather, the news from Iraq, my e-mail and more. I can switch from screen to screen in a millisecond. I can BINPAO – be in nine places at once.  For me, BINPAO is a fascinating concept. I can multitask in entirely new ways. I can be bored with what I am reading on the screen after just three or four sentences, and I can move on by clicking on a link and opening another box with a cute photo of a puppy. lol.  I can skip the really important information of the day and find out what is going on in Hollywood. omg. 

What I cannot do if I choose to enter the state of BINPAO is really get ANYTHING done—at all. I can start all kinds of stuff, just not finish one lick of it.

And studies are popping up all over on the subject of too much multitasking. CFO Magazine in July 2007 reported on multitasking in the workplace. They cite MIT and UCLA studies where researchers concluded that multitaskers do not always optimal learners or workers make. The studies pointed out that while some interruption and multitasking can bring interest to your job, too much is really that: too much. The MIT study found that one can reach a saturation point. Errors increase. Efficiency decreases. The UCLA researchers found that distracted learners still did the learning, but stored the information in different and perhaps less useful locations in the brain.

Ah, but what is an easily distractible gal to do?  It’s like putting a variety of raw meats in a circle around a hungry crocodile. Which one to grab first? Solution? Stop the click-throughs until I’m through and grab one at a time. I am an adult and can choose how long my attention span is. I need to take control of my constant clicking and realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other screen. I need to take time to absorb what’s in front of me before I move on. Maybe I’ll start by moving to the state of BIEPAO – be in eight places at once, and see where I go from there?

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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25 Skills That Lead to Bigg Success

By Bigg Success Staff
05-13-08

Life Skills

twenty-five 

In this article, we summarize five articles that discuss crucial skills for success. You’ll find the five key points from each article here along with the link so you can get any additional information you may want.

5 Things to Understand About Your Brain

#1 – Your brain is unique.

#2 – Your brain thrives on challenge and flow.

#3 – Your brain is a physical organ.

#4 – Your brain deals in emotions as well as thoughts.

#5 – You have multiple intelligences.

Ronald Gross wrote this fascinating article for About.com. It’s well worth checking out all the details on his five ways to enhance your learning.

… and speaking of your brain …    


5 Tips to Get Your Brain Thinking More Creatively

#1 – The George Costanza Method

#2 – Change your commute

#3 – Call things by the wrong name

#4 – Write with your other hand

#5 – Listen to a radio talk show that really ticks you off

David Wahl, of the Creative Creativity blog, wrote this great post. Get all his details about how to trick your brain into taking a fresh look at the world.

5 Suggestions to Get Things Done

#1 – Separate projects from tasks.

#2 – Learn the power of the verb.

#3 – Use technology to manage tasks and projects, but don’t get distracted by it.

#4 – Get your information at regularly scheduled times; don’t let it interrupt you.

#5 – Don’t seek out distractions to give your brain a “break”.

These suggestions come from Tiffany Monhollon over at the Red Suit blog. Read everything she had to say about moving beyond multi-tasking to actually get stuff done.


5 Ways to Keep Distracting People from Distracting You

#1 – Don’t have a place for them to sit.

#2 – Stand and come out from behind your desk.

#3 – Meet them at the door.

#4 – Provide an uncomfortable chair.

#5 – Take notes.

Mark Shead, of the Productivity 501 blog, offered these great suggestions. Get all the details about keeping distracting people from distracting you.


5 Ways to Make Yourself More Likeable

#1 – Be positive.

#2 – Control your insecurities.

#3 – Provide value.

#4 – Don’t be judgmental.

#5 – Become a person of conviction.

Justin Hartfield wrote this excellent article for The Prometheus Institute. Read all the details in his five tips to increase your likeability.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Keep Your Troops Focused on Victory

04-07-08
By Bigg Success Staff

Leadership Skills

focus 

As the leader of your troops, you have to keep your group focused on what you’re trying to accomplish. Few things will discourage your team faster than feeling like their leader isn’t committed to the cause.

So you need to demonstrate to your troops how important you believe it is to succeed. Here are four ways to do just that: 

Keep the spotlight on
Keep your vision of success in front of your troops at all times. If it’s not important to you, it won’t be important to them.

You demonstrate how important it is by keeping the spotlight on it. Keep it at the forefront of your mind so it will be at the forefront of theirs.

Report progress
Let your troops know how things are going. They’ll make assumptions if you don’t. If you’re ahead of your plan, congratulate them and encourage them to keep going.

If you’re behind, discuss how to make up for the deficiency and the consequences of not doing so. Remind them why success is so important.

Direct needed energy and resources

There are a lot of things that you would like to accomplish. However, you’ve defined success so now you need to show you’re committed to achieving it.

To do that, steer all the energy and resources of your team toward that vision. If you can succeed without doing this, you haven’t been ambitious enough in your vision.

If you set the vision, but then don’t devote the required energy and resources, you’ll rob your team of victory. Give them what they need so they accomplish what you need. 

Don’t let anything distract you.
Along the way, there will be many distractions. Don’t make the mistake of reacting to things that only divert resources from the victory you defined.

That will discourage your troops. People follow leaders who know what needs to be done and then focus single-mindedly on achieving it.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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