How to Deal With the Subtraction Called Distraction

Note: This is a guest post from Peter G. James Sinclair of Motivational Memo

‘Subtraction is distraction.’ Ben Sinclair

My son sent me a text the other day – as he knows how much I love the use of rhyme in many of my writings.

Here are just a few of my originals: How To Once & For All Detonate Procrastinate, The Fate Of Imitate, How To Turn Your Bitterness Into Betterness, Cleanliness Is Next To Wealthiness, Self Analysis Combats Self Paralysis, and there will always be more…

So the one he sent through to me was ‘subtraction is distraction’. The reason he came up with this was that he was having trouble on this particular day maintaining focus, and was finding himself easily distracted.

I’m grateful for that distraction, because he provided me sufficient fodder to feed you with yet another life changing and life-challenging article.

1. Subtraction is Distraction

To be distracted is to be pulled off course. It is to be pushed from your purpose. It can culminate in the blurring of focus. It can be the dulling of your dream.

But all in all, distraction will halt your progress forward, and if you let it overtake your life you could find yourself in no-man’s land.

This is the place where dreams are buried, visions vanish, passions are pierced, and ways are lost.

The only true lifesaver in this sea of stagnation is focus itself.

To help with the maintenance of focus I have personally found that there is one system that has sustained me in both performance and production like no other system has.

I call it my 6-Point Consistent Productivity System.

  1. I take a blank sheet of paper at the end of each business day and I write the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 down the left hand side of that page.
  2. I then write next to them the six tasks that will move my life, my business or my career forward.
  3. I then prioritize that list of 6 from the most important to the least important.
  4. I then do the list and complete one task fully before moving on to the next by applying concentrated effort.
  5. Once completed I strike it off my list.
  6. If at the end of the day any tasks are incomplete I simply transfer it to a fresh list in preparation for the following day.

This effectively subtracts distraction’s power over my life.

2. Addition Is Attraction

I have learnt how to become a magnet.

The first thing I do is to make certain that I speak only good and prosperous words.

I guard my mouth with an intensity that desires nothing but a good life. I am familiar with the law called the law of sowing and reaping, and having my own vegetable garden, this firmly entrenches that understanding in my mind.

When you plant a bean seed you get a bean plant. A lettuces seed will produce a lettuce plant. A tomato seed will produce a tomato plant.

So if you plant good words you will get a good life. Prosperous words will create a prosperous life. Healthy words will lead to a healthy life.

The more I give, the more I receive. Like begets like.

I talk good things, expect good things, anticipate good results, see the good in others, and I become one who attracts good opportunities and possibilities.

These are all added to me effortlessly as I make it my daily habit to add goodness to the lives of others.

3. Multiplication Is Satisfaction

Growth is a natural state. Exponential growth is more acceptable.

Why be satisfied with addition when multiplication can be initiated in your life? It has a lot to do with expectation. What do you expect?

  • Do you expect to struggle, or do you expect to conquer?
  • Do you expect to lose, or do you expect to win?
  • Do you expect good returns for effort expended, or great returns?
  • Do you have a small vision, or do you have a mind-expanding vision?
  • Are you willing to fail more than others, or are you going to quit after only one failure?
  • Do you have a ‘learning’ mindset, or a ‘quitting’ mindset?
  • Do you delegate to a team who can support you in your multiplied efforts?
  • Do you apply the multiplication principle where ‘One will set a thousand to flight, whilst two will set ten thousand to flight’?
  • Are you a lone ranger or a team player?

Therein lie the satisfaction and the multiplication.

4. Division Is Benefaction

When it comes to the meaning of benefaction we are told that it means among other things, ‘the act of doing good, help given, contribution of assistance, and the act of conferring.’

Many, when facing the enormity of the vision for their life or a particular project go weak at the knees. They are overwhelmed and engulfed by fear. They are robbed of the opportunity of seeing their dreams come to pass.

But as someone once told me – that the answer to the question, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ is simply, ‘One bite at a time.’

By dividing a large goal or project into bite size chunks, on a daily basis, a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, or on a 90-day basis, you will find yourself empowered to achieve the BIG – little by little by little by little – all the way to success – so that you can truly be the recipient of the benefaction bestowed upon you.


To daily use subtraction, addition, multiplication and division in your life it will equate to a beautiful after-math – your calculated life revealed.

So what distraction are you going to destroy in your life this week?

Peter G. James Sinclair is in the ‘heart to heart’ resuscitation business and inspires, motivates and equips others to be all that they’ve been created to become. Receive your free copy of his latest eBook Personal Success Blueprint at – and add him on Twitter @PeterGJSinclair – today!

Photo by Edgar Dacosta


  1. I really enjoyed reading this and especially your “6-Point Consistent Productivity System”

    That sounds like something I really need to focus on. Writing down what I need to do in order to grow and be productive and focused.

    If I don’t do something like this it can be easy to get sidetracked all day and only get half the work done!

    Thanks for the great article Peter!

  2. Creative post Peter – interesting how you use math to show us how to multiply and add to our lives. So many ways in each day in our lives to get distracted from twitter messages to life changing events. I tried to put to use your productivity system while reading this post – the bad news, I failed. The good news – I’m the brand new owner of some hair products I bought on ebay…where was I again…:)

    • Hey Vishnu – being the owner of a hair salon myself – in my books you succeeded – even if they weren’t my hair products. To fail is okay as long as we learn the lesson. To fail does not mean we are a failure – just the opposite – we are positioning ourselves for the next success.

      • that’s hilarious – i just picked out the most random thought i could and you happened to be in that industry! lol

      • Read Failing Forward, its a great book all about having success even when you fail.

        I tend to think of this when I fail… if you have kids or been around to watch a child take his/hers first step, they tend to fall even if we are helping them.

        I think of a small baby each time I see that I have failed at something. Walking but barely able to. But getting up and doing it differently until I get the solution to why I failed.

        I can’t tell you how many times I have personally failed in creating a business. Probably over 10 times! That is a sickening thought on my end but I figured out why I failed each and every time. I have posted some of my experiences on my website and have posted other things that will help others get over the hump of starting a new business.

        Good luck!

  3. Thanks for having Peter here, Donald!

    Excellent post! Great system you have. I especially liked what you said about multiplying rather than merely adding. I can’t agree with you more that expectation is key.

    We behave plan and act and follow through differently when we expect to do great things as opposed to mediocre.

    I see this every day in the classroom. Those who expect to do poorly, study poorly, turn in low quality work, if at all, and don’t pay attention in class nearly as much as those who expect to get high marks.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Mediocrity! What a horrible word Ken and I know that you would agree. Aim high, reach high and achieve high. What was it that someone wrote? If you aim for the stars even if you miss you may end up with the moon. The M word for me is MULTIPLY!

  4. I like that method. I think it’s brilliant to make this list at the end of the day as opposed to the beginning.

    Why? Because if I don’t, I often find myself stressing over which priorities I’m going to take care of the next day or as I’m driving to work.

    Having that list done ahead of time gives me the confidence that I will have plenty of “QUALITY” distraction free work to do.

    • Yes Bryce – what do the scouts tell us? Be Prepared! How wonderful it is to enter each day with a plan in place, a road to travel and a guide to lead you. Long live the prioritised list!

  5. Very interesting. I love the analogies. Your 6 point system sounds very doable. I spend hours a day becoming better at procrastination–a habit I am working to get out of. Sometimes I have to tell myself “focus Lisa, focus”. For me, knowing exactly what I need to do, helps with getting it done. I think I read somewhere that Tim Ferris uses a similar system where he priorities his to-do list and if he gets the top two highest priority things done that day, it is a good day. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Thanks Lisa

      ‘Becoming better at procrastination’? Now that’s fantastic and completely honest. If all humanity was as honest as you.

      Yes that is one habit that we all need to get worse at..

      So even if you start with point 1 done and 2 if you are Tim – you will have begun the annihilation of that dastardly thing that stops us from getting what is most important done and starts with the letter P.

  6. I love how simple, basic concepts can be applied to bigger things to produce useful systems like this. I like your style with the rhyming is well.

    I’m not as productivity-oriented as I used to be, but I can see this system easily increasing the amount of work – and goals – that I complete and achieve.

    Thanks for this great post!

    • Thanks Fred. Appreciate your kind comments.

      I must admit that to rhyme is to have fun. I trust if you apply just even a small part of what I have shared that your life will be better for it.

  7. Great article. I often struggle to concentrate on the most important tasks and get distracted to easily. In fact, I was actually in the middle of something when I got distracted by this article in my RSS reader 😀

    • Thanks Alex. Glad to have distracted you.

      Did you know that not all distractions are bad. It’s learning the difference between the two (the good and the bad) that is the trick.

      Use the list though and apply discipline – keep at it and never stop until you have mastered it. You can do it! I believe in you!

  8. Awesome post Peter. For me I like to say the difference between a genius and the average person is their ability to focus. Having the ability to, and stay on course regardless of the way things are going is paramount to achieving success. When things are going great soem people tend to rest, and when things are slow are not so great some people let their proclivity to quite take over.

    Great job love your post.

  9. Wow. Yet another great article.

    I love your writing style, simple to the point and has a little zing to it.

    This has to be my favorite article thus far because it relates to my wandering mind.

    Having issues concenrating I find myself taking breaks between tasks… that tend to lead to hours… So I devised a plan to have a timer go off when its time to take a break and get back to work. I also use a post it and post it on my monitor (on the side) to help keep me concentrated.

    Little things tend to lead to big things.

    There are easy and cheap ideas for you to have available to you!

  10. Hello Peter,
    It is really a remarkable post, effective and inspiring too. Your 6-Point Consistent Productivity System, I believe , is the best way to regain one’s focus on a particular subject or task. Thanks for suggesting it. It really works so well.

  11. I like that it’s small enough to manage and easy to remember. I can see the ‘addition’ principle being a particularly useful tool around here.

    As for your question at the end ‘what is going to be your distraction that will destroy your life?’…I’d take issue with the ‘destroy’, more like ‘derail.’

    Well, I know there will be lots of them but I like to think of them as interruptions which makes them feel more manageable, so when I reel off in the wrong direction it much easier to get back on track.

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