I haven’t been awake for more than 30 minutes and already my brain has jumped from one thing to another faster than I can even comprehend. There are the basic functions that I will do as I first wake up, that I believe to be crucial, but even as I do those my mind is moving a million miles a minute and I’m not quite sure what to do next. The distractions are everywhere. I finally get my coffee brewing and realize that I need to do something to channel my thoughts. I need a way to slow down the randomness and focus on a task. So I choose to write.
Even as I am writing this piece on distraction, I become distracted. I just saw a car go down the street out of the corner of my eye. The bus that picks up our neighbor just backed up with that beeping sound. The cat is running around and oh look I just got a notification on my phone. All of these distractions are occurring even before the busiest part of the day has begun. These distractions can start to take a toll and they can make a person like me exhausted before I am halfway through the day. Now the cat jumps up on my lap as I type. That doesn’t make things more difficult at all.
Sometimes the distractions aren’t as simple as a notification on my phone or a persistent want from my 6 year old. Sometimes my environment is just as distracting as anything else. I can’t stand clutter! I believe that everything has a place and if it doesn’t fit into any category there is at least a drawer or closet somewhere that would be a fantastic home for the item. I know, I know those items shouldn’t even be in the house but we are taking some baby steps here. The clutter adds to the noise in my life that becomes further distraction.
I am distracted so much that I get distracted from my distraction. Most people may say that this is the behavior of someone with attention deficit disorder but to my knowledge I have never been diagnosed as such. An example of this is when I pick up my phone because it has notified me that it would like my attention. I pick the phone up to check this extremely important Facebook notification only to immediately hit my email icon, why? because there is a red number three telling me that I have new messages. I start sifting through email and forget why I picked up my phone. Doesn’t really matter because the original distraction wasn’t that important in the first place. The real issue is remembering what it was that I was doing before the initial distraction. At this point I have entered into a web of distraction that does nothing but deter me from accomplishing what truly needs to be completed that day.
I’ve tried to find ways to minimize the distraction. We didn’t have phones on our hips until I was in my early twenties so I know life can be lived without them. Unfortunately we do not live in the early nineties and the world we live in today expects those phones to be right next to us. People will expect an immediate response. One way that I tried to help is by turning off the badges on my iPhone apps. These are the little red numbers that beckon us to pick up our phone. They are screaming to us that we have unfinished business inside this app. Some apps this works just fine, but not the phone app. If you turn the badge off it will not notify you that you have missed a call. Within a day this caused an issue so back came that badge notification.
One thing that I have found has helped is changing my phone’s email to check only when I ask it to check. I do not get constant notifications each time I receive an email. I can go in when I choose to go in and purposefully take the time to check my email. That solved the earlier issue of being distracted from the distraction. Never fear once one distraction is solved there are ten more right behind it. I guess the thing to do is to find little ways that may work for me to minimize the distractions while finding ways to help myself from being so easily distracted in the first place.
What little things do you do in your life to help with distractions? I am up for any suggestions big or small.