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Not long ago, I prepared to write about how excited I was to be at Barnes and Nobles, forcing my boyfriend to read a book, when I got distracted by the fact that I needed to call my mother. So, naturally I began to look for my phone. When I found it, I completely forgot what I needed to call her for. Then, I had to search for my misplaced pen, shuffle back into a position of focus and finally began to write — free of distraction. Sike.

Being free of distractions is like asking the wind to never blow. It's not going to happen. You have to learn how to navigate it. So, while I'm no expert, and I certainly don't know everything, I do have some things I've learned to adhere to when it's time for me to focus.

Here are four things I've learned to help navigate the stress of distractions while still reaching for my goals. Here's how to have a distraction-less, not distraction free, life in 2020:

1. Books

A good book or printed material will help get your mind right. See, seek, feel, and carry them with you wherever you go. When you think there’s no way I’m going to have time to read, bring a newspaper, magazine or pamphlet with you. It’ll remind you of what you like and what you’re interested in, so you’ll feel less distracted. I carry around Julius Caesar and I’m finally getting around to reading it, but simply carrying the book in my bag reminded me of my love for the story.

2. Put Down The Phone

You have to put down your phone. You want a distraction-less, life, right? Well, you have to put it down. You can’t say you don’t want any distractions then stay connected to your phone — it's where all distractions exist. Your phone has you worried about so many things: the election, weather, news, among other issues.

The bottom line is, if it’s in your phone, it’s a distraction. (Unless you’re reading something on Blavity.) 

3. Figure Out Who Really Loves You

People who really love you are the people you can afford to have in a distraction-less life. I think one of the ways to do that is by figuring out expectations. Are you that friend that always needs a phone call or text? If so, cut it out. You won’t make it through this distraction-less year. A real friend doesn't expect anything from you, they just give. Get you a friend that’s willing to give, not take.

I've been intent on having a distraction-less life since I was 18, and this year it was so extreme that my friend, Danika, started to feel the heat from the desert of deserted nation when my calls, texts and FaceTimes came in less frequently. Yet, on Christmas, she still came bearing a care package of tea, body wash, face masks and perfume. I came bearing nothing. Get you a friend who loves you, because sometimes in this distraction-less life you need a distraction in the form of a face mask and love.

This step is important because in the moments of intense focus, after you've put down your phone and avoided civilization for weeks, months or years, depending on who you have in your life, when you need someone the most, you will still have them.

4. Empty Out The People That Don't Really Love You

These people are what I like to call distractions. It is a distraction to worry about people who do not truly love you. Notice I said worry, not care. It is important to care about people regardless of how they feel about you. It is unimportant to worry about these people. If you find yourself stressed that you didn’t text so-and-so back or give them a call because you’re embarking on a distraction-less life, then you need to empty that person out your life. They are distractions.

And like all distractions, these are the type of people that usually come wind-barreling into your life with drama. You don’t need it.

It's 2020. Heres what you need:

  • Your mind to be right
  •  Minimum distractions

Now that you've taken my advice, I'm now going to explain why this is a guide to a distraction-less, not distraction free, life:

It is impossible to live a life free of distractions, as you are not in control of every single thing in your life. Some might argue that you’re not in control of anything. The point is, you are bound to get distracted. The key is to minimize these distractions to the things that really matter to you.

You can find this by choosing something to read and asking yourself, "Why did I want to read that?" Then, carrying it with you is to remember what you like.

You can for sure minimize distractions by putting down your phone, figuring out who loves you and emptying out the people who don’t, because once you’ve done all those things, the distractions that do come to you won’t hold you for long.

You've got your book with you to remind you what you are doing it for. Plus, because you’ve put down your phone, figured out who loved you, and emptied out the people who don’t, you'll know it’s not irrelevant news and you'll know this distraction is coming from someone who really, truly, from the bottom of their heart, loves you, cares for you, wants the best for you and would stand beside you in the freezing rain with nothing to your name. Which almost makes this sweet minimum slight distraction in your hard-worked life worth it.

In the name of love, let's live a distraction-less, not distraction free, life in 2020.


Follow Julissa on Instagram at @livefourme.