how to remove distractions from your life

The Checklist for Removing Distractions

When you think of focus, you are thinking about the thing you want to focus on. That’s just one part of focus.

The other part of focus is the list of things you will not pay attention to.

These are 2 fundamentals of focus.

  1. You must have a very clear sense of what you want to pay attention to.
  2. You also must have a very clear sense of things you will not pay attention to so that you have the ability to pay attention to the main thing!

The second part is what we call “removing distractions”.

How to Remove Distractions from My Life

Anything that is diverting your attention from your main thing, that qualified as distraction.

You have work to do but you are browsing YouTube shorts or TikTok. These distractions are easy to understand at least, but consider that:

  • Thinking about your career is a good thing, but when you are focused on playing a game of cricket and you are facing a bowler — thinking about your career at that point is a pure distraction.
  • When you are praying namaaz, even your family and friends are a distraction.

So “removing distraction” from our lives is a great activity to perform.

We must actively hunt out activities that drain our focus. Anything that diverts attention is to be handled immediately. So that it does not get a chance ever again to distract you from your mission.

Having clarity on the mission – whatever it may be – is essential. But removing distraction does not get enough “coverage” as it should. That’s why this checklist exists. Hope you find it as useful as so many others.

I am sharing with you my “rapid fire” checklist on how you can avoid distractions.

This is what professionals do. This is what people who are serious about their dreams (#dreambreakers), this is what they do. This is what people with purpose do.

This is what we do.


Mange Your Biggest Source of Distraction First

Before I go and share with you how to “sanitize your attention”, I must address the biggest source of distraction in our lives right now.

The phone.

This is what you must do to ensure that you are using the phone, not the other way around.

Managing your phone:

  1. Have a background that reminds you of your main mission. Currently, I have a background that says “Excellence is My Only Duty”. You can get that for your phone here.
  2. Get app blocking apps. There are apps in the market that help you limit usage of other apps. Get them and use them to limit your usage of all social media apps. Anything that you can scroll, is a SURE sign of a distraction! Get rid of it completely, or time-limit your usage of those apps. I recommend not more than 1 hr every day for all social media apps, YouTube included. Resources you’d need:
    1. Free apps in iOS and Android
    2. ActionDash (what I used)
  3. Are you a content creator? If, like me, you run your business via social media, ensure you “Create” your content separately from consuming it. Use desktop versions of “admin” apps that all platforms provide.
  4. Notification removal: This is critical. My phone is allowed to make a sound for calendar notification, or a phone call. All other notifications are silent (not even allowed to vibrate the phone). This is one of the best things you can do. No group whatsapp messages, no app notifications, no SMS, no nothing. You own your phone, it doesn’t own you. Act accordingly.
    1. Here’s how to remove ALL notification from Android
  5. Fall in love with the Airplane ✈️ mode
    1. I first tried using a voicemail service. We in Pakistan don’t really appreciate that. I quickly stopped using that.
    2. For a while, I actually got my admin/assistant to answer all my phone calls. People find it weird that my admin is answering my phone. Even I find it weird. So that didn’t work.
    3. This “social” constraint is best handled with a phone that’s not on! So when I am “Creating” in the mornings, my phone is in Airplane mode. Anyone who calls, knows that the phone is off.
    4. DONT put on silent for social reasons because people don’t like it when they call you and you don’t pick up. If you do Silent your phone, make sure it is COMPLETELY silent, no buzzing, no flashing of LEDS, no screen lights turning on. Don’t put yourself in “tempting” situations.

I predict that in the coming years, more research will show us how damaging social media addiction really is. Our dopamine centers are fried because of the highly-engineered attention-seeking scrolls of different social media apps.

If nothing else, just following the above five methods will inshAllah give you the gift of focus!

But if you are really serious about uplifting your focus, read on…

Managing yourself

  1. Have a routine. This is the most critical of fundamentals to “install” in our lives. A routine is a habit of excellence.
    1. Getting an A in one subject is of no consequence. Getting a B+ over a 4 year degree, now that’s something. That comes from a routine.
    2. Making a million rupees once is fine, making it every month is something else. That comes from a routine
    3. Be “something else” instead of “once in a while” – get a routine.
    4. Look around you – everything in nature just simply works. Just like it should. Why? Part of it is because it follows a semi-flexible routine.
  2. Start time blocking your day. A very simple concept, perhaps that’s why it’s so effective. This is powerful if you want to get a lot of things done without burning out.
    1. Want to take it to the next level? Divide your day in AT LEAST 5 sections based on namaaz timing.
      1. Fajr to Zuhr.
      2. Zuhr to Asr.
      3. Asr to Maghrib.
      4. Maghirb to Isha.
      5. Isha to Fajr.
    2. Plan your day according to these “anchors”. The prayers also becomes a great place to ask the Creator to bless your coming “time block” as well.
    3. Follow the pomodoro technique. I have talked about this extensively in the past (Urdu video on the Pomodoro technique can be seen here)
      1. Set a timer for 55 minutes. Take a 5 minute break. Repeat 3 to 4 times. A week later, you’ll be living a different life!
  3. Don’t REMEMBER anything! Your brain is not designed to remember information, it is designed to process information. So have a reliable “system” to remember any and all commitments and promises you have.
    1. Use a calendar to SHIFT all promises from your brain. This is why the calendar is allowed to send me a notification – because a calendar is a collection of promises I have made to others or myself. The calendar, really, should be your only boss in this world.
  4. Guard Your Sources of Information
    1. Control them, guard them because they WILL influence your personality.
    2. I don’t watch political shows – it’s been a decade almost. Didn’t miss anything. But if you must consume any information on TV, or even on YouTube etc, do it on a schedule. Put that schedule into your calendar.
    3. They say you’re the average of your five best friends. That’s because you’re the average of your top 5 infleuncers. Your sources of information are those influencers in your life. Be very picky about that.
  5. Schedule your “social media” time as well. Social media – as stated earlier – is the number one tool of distraction. You possibly are not lazy, you are simply distracted. Remove this distraction. Here’s my recommendations on that:
    1. I try to go for 30 minutes, twice a day. That’s one hour. That is how much social media I have allowed myself to consume.
    2. Remember, my complete business model is based on social media. So if I can do it, so can you. You can and must control your consumption.
    3. Remember, be a creator, not a consumer. Go where the consumers are. Help them.
    4. Take your connections off social media and develop relationships (like this email)
  6. Be Calm at all times, even during the storm of life! How? By getting your own Thinking Time. How to be amongst the top 0.1 % of people? By scheduling in “thinking time”. Some tactics to get this done:
    1. Keep a notebook. Writing is a higher form of thinking. Write things down that are on your mind. You’ll SHOCK yourself how CLEAR a problem becomes after you SPEND SOME TIME WITH IT.
    2. Have a “Thinking Ritual”. Some call it “meditation”. Some very useful ones:
      • RELEASE Ritual: Take one very deep breath. Once done, breath in again, and think of sucking up all the thoughts you have. And on the exhale, say RELEASE, to release all tensions in your mind. This sounded weird to me as well, but as I leave the office to go to my family, I did this a couple of times. And all the worries and issues, they were successfully “left on the table” to be handled once I am back. Alhumdulillah. Try it and let me know what you think.
      • PRAY Namaaz on time: if you’re a Muslim, this is non-negotiable. Here’s a workable idea:
        • Remind yourself that your FIRST identity is that of a Muslim.Plan your day around namaaz times, not the other way around
        • Because Namaaz is critical, and frequent (5 times a day) – it can not be part of a plan. It is the plan. The day is divided in these sections. And you pray (reminder ritual!) on those times.
        • Fajr, Zuhr etc are simply names of times in Arabic. Fajr is Dawn, Zuhr is Afternoon or Midday, Maghrib is Dusk and so on.

Remember, these habits develop over time.

Start small. But do start – because the world indeed belongs to the bold.

Amal sey zindagi bantee hai, jannat bhee jahannum bhee

Which one of these things really stood out for you? Let’s talk about that here in our group.

P.S. Our Creator in the Quran tells us that Mominoon are those who “avoid all distractions” (Al-lazina hum anil-laghwe mo’ridoon). I want you to pray for me that I am successful in removing all distractions from my life. I pray the same for you.

JazaakAllah for your attention, inshAllah talk soon

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