The enemy of productivity is distraction.

Think about it. All around us, companies are throwing advertisements at us constantly. Social media is another culprit. You start looking at social media and the next thing you know, two hours have passed.

I recently watched a video by Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine titled “Insane Productivity.” In it, he mentions that distraction is the number one enemy of productivity. It costs companies tons of money every year. I believe it.

I think about how much time TV, the Internet, and other things distract me from what I am doing.

Did you notice the airplane in the image above? See what I mean?

Eliminating Distraction

So, here are three things that I have found that help eliminate some of the distractions so I can be more productive.

  1. An app called BrainFocus. It allows me to set a simple timer for however long I need it to be so I can focus. When the timer counts down to zero, an alarm goes off on my phone telling me to take a break. After four cycles, it gives me a longer break.
  2. Use my office. My wife gets on me for using the couch sometimes but if I go in the office, there is no TV, radio, or people walking around the house that can distract me.
  3. Since my office can be anywhere, I sometimes find myself in a coffee shop or eatery where there are other people. It’s much harder to eliminate distractions there but I can put my earbuds in and put on some soothing music to help drown out the noise. Having been a parent to many kids, I have developed the skill of tuning out, so there’s that.

With so many distractions, it can be hard. As an entrepreneur, it falls on you to eliminate those distractions so you can focus on what you need to do each day.


Speaking of what to do each day, another suggestion by Darren Hardy is to make a list of three things you want to accomplish each day in priority order. Make the list the day before and take them one at a time. Work on the first one until it is complete, then move to the second one and so on. If there is something that doesn’t get done that day, make your list for the next day and determine the priorities.

What do you do to eliminate distractions in your work and business life?


Be Aware

Carrot Ranch 99 Word Challenge

Be Aware

They were told walking through the woods would bring them closer to nature. They said to be aware of their surroundings. It would be good for the soul, they said.

Stan and Jessica felt much more in touch with their own feelings about nature and each other.

They took their shoes off and strolled through the shallow stream holding hands.

As the afternoon began to succumb to dusk, they headed back to the lodge to rejoin their group.

By midnight they were itching terribly. Not only did their arms itch, but their legs too.

Poison Ivy and chiggers. Ugh!

Sunny Spring Weather?

Another Challenge from CarrotRanch – 99 Word Challenge

Sunny Spring Weather - Soccer

Yay! It’s Spring!

I’ve been waiting for the trees to start budding, flowers to bloom, and all the sensory feelings of spring.

I wake up and get dressed. Shorts, Flip-Flops and a T-shirt. It’s going to be a great day.
Moving to the kitchen, I eat a hasty breakfast.

A game of soccer to kick off the day. Kick off the day. Ha! I crack myself up.
Grabbing the keys, I open the door. Brr! A frigid cold chills me right to the bone.

I check my phone. 30 degrees. Ugh!

So much for spring in Upstate New York.

Floating On Air

CarrotRanch 99 word challenge.

Float On Air

Sally held her hand out the back window of the car, feeling the force of the wind. It felt like her fingers were flying. She was doing her best to try and keep her hand level. A challenge at 60 mph.

Bruce jumped into the front seat and sat down.

Sally began to daydream as she stared past her hand towards the outstretched fields.

Suddenly, her hand was sticky wet, jolting her out of her daydream.

“Bruce! No!” she shouted.

Bruce, their Great Dane, had his head out the window and was drooling.

That’s when her dad started laughing.


Deep Thinking

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the theme “follow your dreams.” From CarrotRanch.

Follow Your Dreams

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” she said.

He shrugged and continued eating his cereal without looking up.

“You can’t just sit around complaining about what you don’t have.”

He stopped mid shovel and looked up at her. Then, shrugging again, he went back to his feeding frenzy.

He knew she was right. He needed to follow his dreams if he was going to make something of himself.

“I can’t do this anymore! Get work that you’re passionate about or I’m leaving. Damn it! Your 40 years old.”

He stopped again and said, “You’re right.”

Just Desserts

99 Word Fiction Challenge from Carrot Ranch.

Just Desserts

“Eh – What’s Up Doc?”

You could just hear the sarcasm dripping in his voice.

I had just lost a job I had been doing for over twenty years and was in no mood, but it made me laugh anyway.

I needed some humor to relieve the stress I was under. It’s tough getting downsized.

I smiled and said, “How about a piece of that carrot cake you got there?”

“No problem sir. I’ll get that right away. Need a drink with that?” he said.

“How about some ice cold milk?”

Somehow, I knew things were going to be ok.

The Right Price For You

All around us, we see what others have. We get jealous at times and maybe even envious of what others have that we don’t. Maybe we even force ourselves to get things that others have even if we can’t really afford them.

Brand New Car

The Car

It was about 15-16 years ago that I found myself divorced with a massive amount of debt and a car that barely ran. I had owned the car for at least 12 years and let’s just say that I was ready to beat it continuously with a sledgehammer to see how much damage I could do to it.

I lived about five miles from my work and every day, I would use one quart of oil and two gallons of water just to get back and forth a total of ten miles. I saw really nice cars that everyone drove at work and honestly, I was jealous and envious of what they had.

The sad part about it was there was nothing I could do about it. There was no money.

I tried though. I went to several banks and asked for a loan but no one would give me one. When I asked if I could use my car as collateral, they might as well have laughed out loud. No one was interested in using a 12-year old car to back a loan.

I was stuck.

The fan in the front of the car didn’t work either so it was dangerous to be stuck at stoplights because the car would overheat. If I got stuck at a light, I would pull into a parking lot and turn the car off instead. It made for very long trips to the grocery store.

I lived that way for 11-months before I was offered an opportunity to get a loan and purchase a used car from a private owner.

The House I Want


If we aren’t careful, we can end up in a scary situation when it comes to houses. All around us, there are new construction homes going up. Why would I want a used home when I could get a new home that no one has lived in? What if there aren’t many homes available to look at right now? I want something NOW!

As a REALTOR, I see all kinds of houses every week. Holding an open house for a new construction home is really nice. Everything in the house is perfect. Well, everything I can see looks perfect. Looking at used homes I can see how the house has been lived in. There are scrapes on the wall paint, worn carpet, and maybe the owner hasn’t fixed things along the way.

But that nice new home has none of these flaws so I want that one instead.

The Budget

When I went looking for another car to buy, I set a fixed amount that I would spend on it. Getting a loan when I was already carrying so much debt was scary in itself but I really felt there weren’t a lot of options. I set the price for $9000 and was fortunate enough to get something that lasted a while. Well, it lasted until one of my daughters had a wreck in it. Fortunately, I had it for several years and was able to pay down a bunch of debt in that time.

When it comes to a house, the budget needs to be seriously considered too. Just because you get a loan for a certain amount and the price you want for a home, any home, doesn’t mean the mortgage payment will never change. For the most part, you can expect the mortgage to go up a little each year. If you build that understanding in your calculations from the beginning, you can avoid having issues. I’ve written a post about things that change your mortgage. Read it when you get a chance but in the meantime, mortgages can go up due to variable interest rates, taxes and value assessments. If you’re not careful, you can actually be priced out of your home by these things.

It doesn’t mean you need to go through a foreclosure however, you may end up having to sell your home and humbling yourself by buying something less than what you had before so you can actually afford it.

Car Update

I kinda left you hanging there with the car. I did do something with that car that needed all the oil and water to keep going. I donated it to the senior high school class with the understanding that they would take a sledgehammer to it and destroy it. I wasn’t able to make the event but I hear they had a great time destroying the car.

I’ve moved on since then. It’s a memory that will stick with me but also one I never want to experience again.


If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

I’m never too busy for you or your referrals.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX