Transcript: A Study in Distraction
Hello, hello! How are you doing? Welcome back to another episode of be a better lawyer podcast. I am excited to talk to you about this topic. I think I said that about some of the other topics I just did too, but I'm super excited about this because it was just perfect. It just worked out exactly like it needed to work out. And I think you're going to get the benefit of my thought processes on distractions and be able to apply what I talk about today in a way that you wouldn't have been able to apply if I didn't go through what I went through in creating this podcast. And so I'll tell you what I mean in just a second, but I mean, have you ever been in those situations where just everything kind of flows and works out? I mean, I always say everything works out the way that it's supposed to, but sometimes there's just so much evidence for it.
I can't ignore it. And this was one of those episodes. This was one of those episodes where I had a plan and that plan went out the window. As soon as I started going through the creative process. And I'm going to walk you through it step by step today and you'll get to see how my brain works, how it cranks out thoughts and what I do about them. And I think that that is going to help you as you work through your own distractions, because we have distractions everywhere. And right now, more than ever, it seems like there's extra distractions, but what's happening is that we're just having more vibrant thoughts about those distractions. And that is what is, you know, when we're reacting to our thoughts, then we are being pulled in different directions rather than really focusing on what we need to do in order to eliminate some of those distractions.
So let's just get into this. So as I started thinking about this podcast on distractions, and I started to go back to my notes, I was sidetracked. And really that is just a fancy way of saying I was distracted. I want you to understand how my brain works because you and me, our brains work the same, but my results are massively different than a lot of people. Maybe there are a lot different than yours. So listen in and see if there's a difference there. I get a lot done. I mean, I'm a full time practicing lawyer. I am a life coach. I create podcasts. I create content and I also am making time for myself because breast cancer diagnosis at 29, I know I want a life that is much easier in my body than one where I'm constantly stressed out. So I'm always looking for ways to make my life easier.
And one of those things that I use to make my life easier is thought work. And that's what we're going to be talking about today when we're talking about distractions. So the big difference between me getting more done without all the stress and anxiety and all of that is really, I just notice what's going on in my brain. I don't judge it. I know that's how my brain is designed and it's up to me to reign it in. And I teach my clients to do that too, so that they can get more done without all the guilt and the anger at themselves for not sticking to their plans. So our primal brain, the one that wants to avoid pain and gravitates towards pleasure. It's like a toddler. It's like a toddler that wants to get into everything. And then we've got to come in with our grownup prefrontal cortex.
That's all evolved and we have to go around the house. We have to make sure that there's nothing that can put that little toddler in danger, right? We got to plug up the outlets. We gotta make sure there's nothing on the floor that that toddler can get to. And that is the practice of noticing like what's going on, noticing your surroundings. And for us, it's noticing those thoughts. And if you want to learn even more about how our brain works and get more time in your law practice, go to Dina, cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer to get the free busy lawyers guide. And you'll get five hours back. Like how amazing is that? So go to Dina, cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer. And I like to say, this is magical. Like this is magical work. Like nobody pulled me aside in law school and said, Hey, this is what you do in order to create a life where you're not all stressed out and overwhelmed.
So that's why I do what I do. So let's just get down to business here. This is how it went down. When I sat down to write this podcast. So step one, before I even started writing the podcast, I thought to myself, I'm tired. Like I just, you know, maybe I'll do it tomorrow. I started thinking like, you know, I'm just, I need to catch up on my sleep. Maybe if I just slept a little bit more, I would clear my head, but I decided no. I decided that I was going to sit down at my desk and I was going to write a podcast, whether I was tired or not step two. I had notes for this podcast that I had written like a week ago. And I really wanted to expand on those. I wanted to look at them. I wanted to expand on them.
I wanted to get some more ideas flowing. And I even, you know, sat down at my desk, opened my journal, opened up my Evernote to start typing. And I just started reading through everything. But then step three came, I needed to check my email. There was this urge, right? I had a thoughtless suddenly like, Oh, you know, I should check my email and it had to be done. Right. So I gave and to my urge, right? And that's one of the things that we work on is noticing when we have an urge and not responding to it, but I responded to it. Then step four, when I got into my email inbox, I found an email that kind of irritated me. I had some irritating thoughts about it and I vented to myself and then I vented to a person in my house. And then I moved on, but I spent a little bit of time here being annoyed, recognizing that I was spending my time there.
And instead of doing my podcast, step five, I had my phone near me. So I texted back my friend and said, stop texting me. I'm trying to get work done. And then I turned my phone on silent, and then I checked my phone again and I sent another really final text. And then I really double checked to make sure that I put my phone on silent and put it away. Step six. So since I was thinking about it, I went back to my email to clear out a few of them because I hadn't cleared them out earlier in the day. And so I thought, well, you know what? I'll just send out an email to my clients that I was adding spot coaching into my, my new sessions. So via Voxer. So that way they can do check-ins between our coaching sessions. And that was something that I had to get done.
And I knew, Hey, this is the perfect time. I want to clear my inbox anyway, anyway, let's just do it. So then I sent that out and then I sent a link out to another person for a phone call that's coming up. And yeah. So I felt like, yeah, I'm getting stuff done. I'm getting stuff done. But I still was not doing what I said I was going to do, which was writing my podcast step seven. I decided that I needed to check my website just to check and see if I'd written a podcast on distractions before. Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up. Right. You cannot make it up. It turns out I haven't. Then I decided I should do a quick look at a couple of my main pages to make sure, you know, they looked good. I have no idea my brain.
This is just how our brain works. Our brain just goes everywhere. I found a broken link on one and I needed to fix it. So I fixed it. And then I went to another page and I didn't like the language on that page. So I worked on the language on that page for a bit. And then step eight, I wrote in my journal about how all of this went down, because I knew that I needed to just stop because I could see what my brain was doing. And I knew I needed to put the brakes on it, but I needed to get my thoughts out, get all of that anxious energy out. And I wrote down about how I was tired during step one, but miraculously found the energy to do everything that I just you about. And then step nine, I decided, and this is the key.
I decided that not only was I going to sit down to write this podcast now, but I was going to use it as a study in distraction because once we begin breaking down exactly what we're doing and creating awareness, that's when we get some of our power back for years, I would do things just like I walked you through and not even notice I was doing it. Or sometimes I would have a vague idea that I was doing it and then beat myself up for being lazy or unfocused or that I wasn't good enough. And then I would spend a ton of time in self pity and despair that I would never create what I wanted to create. And I felt a lot of shame because I didn't want anyone else to see how pathetic I felt, because surely if I felt pathetic, then they would think I was pathetic too.
So now I write podcasts about my experience and share them with the world big change. Right. And it feels amazing. Do you know why? Because I know that everything I did during my little procrastination Fest was caused by my thoughts. It's no big deal that I did any of them, because I know that I have the ultimate control of my brain and can decide what I'm doing. I have a ton of compassion for myself because my brain legit is probably tired because it was expending energy all day. And I'm writing this at night and that is okay, I'm tired. And I decided I'm writing a podcast anyway. And there's so many shiny things, right? There's so many shiny things that are designed specifically to distract us to our computers, where we tend to do most of our work, our distraction, producers, social media, news websites, Spotify podcasts, you name it.
It's all at the tips of our fingers, right? If we think of a random word that we want to look up, we can Google it. If we think of something random that we hadn't thought of in a while, like, how do I cut a mango? Well, you can go onto YouTube and you can find videos of it. It is magical. And we have a little phone by our side at all, times where we can communicate with people. I mean, it's all there. Then when we've been reacting to stimulus all day, all of these things that are coming at us, all the notifications for emails at the office, all of these texts that we're getting from people, all of these things on Instagram, where we were responding to comments and doing all this stuff, our brains are just pooped. Our brain was not designed for the amount of stimulus we take in and it doesn't know how to handle it.
So that's why shutting down notifications and limiting distractions is so effective in getting us focused and getting more focused work done too. There's fewer shiny objects, but our brain is also expending less energy reacting to every little notification. So our brains have shiny object syndrome and the people who want our attention the most know it, right? Zuckerberg, the evening news, every advertiser, they all study these things. The red button gets more clicks than the beige button because it grabs our attention. More books on the bookshelf are orange and red red because their publishers know that color grabs attention. There are words and phrases that grab our attention and get our primal brain turning dire warnings, sudden surge. Last chance. These phrases are meant to grab our attention and our attention costs, energy and where we turn our attention. It really, really matters. One of my favorite phrases is we are where our attention is really think about that.
We are where our attention is wherever we focus our brain. That is where our energy is going to go. When we were foraging for nuts and hunting for our food, we didn't have these kinds of distractions. It was really easy to decide where we wanted to focus our attention. Our brain wasn't designed to pay attention to advertisements. It was designed to spring into action. When a bear leaped out of the bushes, it was designed to connect with people and to nature. It was designed to feel emotions. And every time we give into a distraction, we train our brain. That particular distraction is really important, right? Like it is life changing. Only important. Every time we check our email, our brain is thinking, Oh yeah. And we're getting that little boost of dopamine, that little hit of dopamine. Every time we see a little heart pop up in our social media, every time we give our attention away, we are giving a piece of our energy away.
Every TM time we give our attention away, we are giving a piece of our energy away. I really liked that idea. You hear about being a good steward of your money, but what about our mental energy? How can we create distance from the distractions OU distance from the distractions? I just read that. And I was like, that gave me a little bit of chills. Like, Ooh, that was good. So the first thing to notice is that you are distracted and take ownership of it. It wasn't that you had to check your emails and that got in the way of you completing a task. It was that you decided to check your emails. When you said you were going to complete a task, did you spot the difference there? In one, we are totally the victim to circumstances and have no power in the other. We have all the power and can decide to change course.
The difference between those of us who get distracted, then get things done with ease is living in the thought where we have all the power, because if you have the power, it's no big deal. Yeah. I got distracted. Then I decided to get back to work. I didn't waste time in shame or uncertainty. I didn't spin into doubt and insecurity. I just decided it was time to stop effing around on my computer and start writing. I wasn't mad at myself because I knew that my brain just shiny objects and not just that I incorporated my experience to make this a more actionable podcast for you. And then you can see how another person and another person's brain can work when they are distracted and then compare it to how you react when you are distracted. This is the work, my friend, this is it. Studying our thoughts and how we can work on our thoughts to get things done more quickly and overcome those obstacles more quickly.
That work really is magical. So what happened to that original podcast? I was going to record because, you know, I had some really great ideas that I was going to put down in here. Well, I use some of those notes to supplement the updated busy lawyers guide. So you can download it at Dina, cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer. That's Denny Dina, cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer. And that's it. My friends it's doing the work. It's thinking about what our brain is going through. It's having compassion for ourselves and understanding that, you know what? Yeah, I'm distracted. So what, what do I want to make that mean about myself? Well, I just know that I get stuff done. I recognize what my brain's doing. I understand that that's just how my brain is designed, but I also understand that there's another part of my brain that's designed to help me make the decisions that I need to move forward.
Even if I'm tired, even if I really want to check my email, even if I'm still texting my friend, I mean, all of those things, we can put them aside and the more we do it, the more we practice this, the easier it becomes and the faster we get on track to getting more focused and getting more stuff done, whether it's in your practice or maybe you have other commitments that you want to devote more time to, all right. I hope you are getting to work this week, making something amazing happen. And I will talk to you soon. Bye. If you love what you're learning on the podcast,
Imagine how you'll evolve. When you start implementing what you're learning, you can learn how to work with me to do just that by scheduling a free strategy session, go to Dina, cataldo.com. That's Dina cataldo.com. Talk to you soon.