Once you get onto the drug, it’s hard to get off.
A few years ago, Microsoft came out with a paperclip character that would pop up on your screen to alert you to a new email as soon as it came in. What is the response inside you when that icon pops up to tell you things about your email and you decide, “No, I need to stay focused – I’m not going to look at that email”? What’s going on inside your brain at that moment and how does that correspond to what you might imagine goes on inside a heroine or crack addict when they see that there is a drug of choice available and they make the choice to abstain from that drug?
Most people experience that – they see the little pop-up and they just can’t keep from clicking on it, even though they’re in the middle of a deadline. The little pop-up comes up and they click. They’ll read the email quickly and then go back to what they were doing, but they’ve still been interrupted.
The Drug of Reactivity can best be demonstrated that way: when we get ourselves so much onto reactivity that we go through withdrawal symptoms when we can’t do the reaction.
How often have you gotten yourself to the point where maybe you’ve worked through all of your issues and for just a moment, maybe 15 minutes or an hour, you’ve kind of sat there and looked around your office and asked, “What do I need to do next?” You’re so used to being busy with things all the time that when all of a sudden you now have time to do something, you don’t know what to work on. You’ve been under the influence of the Drug of Reactivity for so long that your brain doesn’t even know how to handle when there isn’t something to respond to and it has to flip into a mode where it says “I’m going to decide what I’m going to work on even though there aren’t any deadlines impending on me.”
One way to combat this is to implement time blocking. Prioritize your goals. Plan uninterrupted time to focus what you need to work on, with no allowance for “reactivity” and distraction from outside sources.
- Example: One customer owns and operates three different enterprises. He keeps flipping between the three things and never could find the time to complete what he needed to get done. So he set aside one day each week with NO interruptions from his main business, giving complete control to his manager for that day, giving him time focus on his other items. It was amazing to him how much he could accomplish once he allowed himself complete focus on each separate endeavor.
Sit down and figure out what is the priority, how to fit it all together, and then set up the block time. Tell yourself, “During this block, I can do nothing else besides THIS.” That is only the first step toward battling the Drug of Reactivity.