"Ignore the Noise"
"Ignore the noise" These words are plastered on the locker room walls of the most successful NFL football teams in the game. This phrase is at the top of a list of best practices that have been proven to help the team to be the best at what they do. For the players inside that locker room, it helps them be the best NFL football players, but this practice can be applied to you and if you can effectively execute 'ignoring the noise' on a daily basis, it will help you to be the best at what you do.
You might be thinking, NFL football players have a lot more noise to ignore than typical professionals. I disagree. Granted, their noise consists of national and local media coverage. They have to deal with enduring the ins and outs of the 17 week NFL season. Other than the physical demand of the game and the fame that goes along with being a professional football player, their 'noise' is just like our noise. They have family, friends, bills, errands, chores – all the various parts of our lives that demand our attention and time.
As professionals we have to work through our own noise every day; get the kids to school, fix the dish washer, paint the bathroom, dinner with the in-laws, your college buddy's out of town wedding, and the list goes on. I am not trying to say that these parts of our lives are any less important, but when you are trying to work, these pieces make up your 'noise.'
Now, I am not trying to give you anxiety about getting your 'to do list' complete. Instead, my point is that all the things I listed can be considered 'noise' disrupting your professional life. While, you have to keep these things on your radar and recognize that they are there, you have to ignore that noise when you are working.
You have to focus on the job. You have to ignore the 'noise' and get to your goal. At the end of the day, the 'noise' will still be there. You must not let it impair your ability to effectively do your job the best you can.
Learn to ignore the 'noise' and focus on the task at hand and you find that you be more efficient with your time and improve your results. This will ultimately lead to more time to deal with your noise.
How do you ignore the noise? That is something that you are going to have to figure out for yourself. The first step is to recognize it is there and will distract you. You will have to figure out how to work past it and ignore it.
My advice is to keep a "to-do" list. Prioritize your list of and don't be afraid to include even the most mundane task. Accomplishing a task on the list often motivates you to keep on going. Another way to stay on track is to reward yourself. Often I find myself getting distracted at work and thinking about the 'noise' at the end of the day. However, if I reward myself for all the hard work I did that day I will stay on track. Lastly, while the 'noise' can often distract you from work it can also give you a reason to work harder. The 'noise' usually includes responsibilities that you have as a father, friend, husband, wife, etc. Remind yourself that your hard work will pay off in the end.
In the comments section, please share some of your best practices that help you 'ignore the noise.' I am sure it will help your fellow professionals.
In the meantime, get out there and play like a champion!