Distractions are plentiful, in-your-face and loud.
The typical workplace is filled with other people making noise, asking questions, bidding for attention to their concerns, offering more interesting or exciting things to do that what you are working on.
(Not to mention that you have so many things to do that you're sometimes overwhelmed and would rather be distracted.)
It's hard to focus on your priorities, goals and intentions. It's much easier to follow the lead of distractions. You don't need to try to focus on them. They are right under your nose. You can see them, hear them, interact with them. The rewards of following them are immediate.
If you let yourself follow the distractions, you literally lose "sight" of your goals. In order to resist the distractions, you can sharpen your "vision" of your intentions and goals.
To achieve your goal you need a strong image to compete against distractions.
This is another instance of a picture being worth a thousand words. Actually, a lot more.
It' not enough to express an intention to achieve a goal. It's not enough to write down what you must do and how to do it. It's not enough to post memos, to-do lists, sticky notes or other reminders to keep you on track. They are all part of your plan to achieve, but they are useless without the ability to strongly visualize your goal.
You need a strong "vision" of your goal in your mind. You should be able to "see" yourself achieving the goal and receiving all the benefits that go along with it. It should be so strong that whenever distractions pop up, the vision of achievement seems to overlay the in your face reality of the immediate distraction.
It's the psychological equivalent of keeping your eye on the ball.
The image must be vivid, meaningful, motivational and dynamic.
You can build an unshakable image of achieving a goal using four factors:
The image you build should be clear, sharp, bright, and colorful. You should be able to see it in your mind's eye as clearly as you can envision your brightest, happiest memories.
For example, you might have the goal of writing an ebook. In that case, you might imagine seeing the cover of your ebook on Amazon.com, advertised as a Kindle book. You would see it having a five-star rating. You would see a long list of fabulous reviews.
The image should be significant, substantial and/or purposeful. It should show the impact it has on your life or on others.
Still using the creation of an ebook as an example, you might imagine the reviews speaking of how your writing helped the reader create a better relationship, feel better about himself, improve his business, understand an issue better, make better choices, make money. Whatever benefit it is your ebook would provide.
Your image should include a call to action, show the consequence of success or failure, or provide some wish fulfillment.
If you are imagining a successful ebook, you might see two pages, side by side. One shows the image, described above, of your book's Amazon.com page with the great reviews. The other shows your earnings page with a large amount of money.
Your image should be alive, moving and growing -- dynamic. The best way to achieve dynamism is to make your image a video rather than a static picture.
So, for the ebook example, you might see yourself showing those Amazon.com pages to your friends, family or students. Or envision teaching a live class or online course in the subject of your book. Or having a book signing after turning your successful ebook into a physical book.
You always have to have visual images for your goals in order to plan and complete them. If you imagine them well and strongly, the images can fortify you against even the most tempting distractions. Just make sure they seem more immediate, more in your face and louder than those distractions.