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Guest Post: Make Your Distractions Repulsive Through Association

One of the best ways to keep one of your regular distractions from taking up more of your future time is to remove the enjoyable value it provides you. The only reason we get distracted by something is that, at some level, we get some short-term enjoyment or assumed value from it, and this can be negated. This technique works very well if done properly. The underlying concept is that you can remove certain time-wasting distractions from your routine if you can make them repulsive. The key is that you associate the distraction with something that repels you.

Example Where This Worked

There was a computer game I would play a bit much. At times when I was playing it, I would realize that valuable time was being tossed out of the window, but I would still play it a bit much. What cause me to stop playing this distracting game was that an individual I would regularly play with, and who I had come to associate with the game, decided to stop playing. After that point, there was no appeal to play the game, since I would feel foolish playing it without my playing partner who had moved on. The distraction now repelled me. Although this example was not an intended use of the method, it shows how powerful it can be.

Avoiding YouTube Example

Making yourself feel foolish when you take part in a distraction is one of the best ways to make it repulsive. If your biggest distraction is watching YouTube clips, and that takes up too many chunks of your time at home(or maybe at work), then you would highly benefit from making yourself feel stupid when you load up any YouTube page. One way to do this would be to associate YouTube with a peer who is more successful than you or who you feel threatened by. Then, when you go on YouTube, you will be reminded that you are about to do something that will leave you even less of an opportunity to succeed like your peer.

Do You Really Want To?

Most don’t want to do things like this because most don’t really want to get rid of their distractions. We do things like minimize our time spent with distractions because we actually want to keep returning to them at times. Making a distraction repulsive takes this effort a step further, because it removes the impetus you have to return to the distraction at any point.

What you want to do if you haven’t yet gotten an idea of how you can make one or more of your distractions unappealing is to brainstorm a list of things that bother you or make you feel foolish. Ideas for this list can come from things you already avoid, or be about certain people you avoid. Find those elements that repel you the most, and then associate them as strongly as you can with the distractions you want to remove, so that you think of them whenever you want to take part in the distraction.

As an added note, make sure to make a distinction between what you want to label as a distraction and what you want to label as a leisure activity.

Armen Shirvanian writes timeless words about mindset, communication, relationships, and related topics at Timeless Information. You can follow him on Twitter at @Armen.

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