When Distractions Win

The last few months have been hectic. Between selling our house, moving, my wife and I both starting businesses, and renovating a house, life has been a little crazy to say the least. There have been plenty of times where I just stopped and blanked out, completely forgetting what I was just doing. Two weekends ago I was headed to the garbage dump with a load comprised mostly of old windows. I had it strapped down but at the last second I found an extra garbage bag full of stuff that needed to be tossed, so I wedged it under one of the straps. I had my son with me in the back seat and we chatted with each other until we made our way onto the highway. It was at that point that I noticed the garbage bag flapping in the wind in the bed of the truck. I knew I had a good 25 min drive on the highway to get to where I was going and I started to worry. What if it fell out and hit the car behind me? What if it fell out and spilled all over the road? What if it fell out and caused an accident!? Point is, I was distracted. I had a hard time concentrating on the road and was completely ignoring any questions my son had.

In this case, the distraction didn’t just take away my precious time spend with my son, it also had started to cause me anxiety and stress. Does this ever happen to you? Of course it does. You are human. The real question is, how good are you at recognizing when you are in those moments and what do you do about it?

Author Joshua Becker in his article 9 Ever-Present Distractions That Keep Us From Fully Living makes an interesting point. He says, “Our world is full of distraction—the most dangerous are those we do not recognize.” That may not even be something you have ever thought of. Distractions we don’t recognize? The thing is if we expand on our definition of the word distraction to become more than just being on your phone or binge watching netflix or daydreaming, we can start to view the topic differently.

What if distractions were events from our past that continually crept into our conscious and caused us stress or anxiety. What if they were parts of ourselves that we didn’t exactly love that made us feel small any time we thought of them. What if it was even the way you have been treating someone that flared up any time you ran into them or even had a chance to. If you’ve ever avoided someone in the grocery store you know what I mean.

If this is you, what can you do to fix it? We will never be able to fully rid ourselves of these pesky little, or big distractions, there are ways to handle them better. Here are a few suggestions…

Anticipate: Your distractions likely have a pattern. Maybe you go on your phone when you get home rather than spending time with the kids or partner. Perhaps your routine involves going down a YouTube or Pinterest rabbit hole when you get to the office. To help avoid this know what distracts you and plan ways to avoid them.
Schedule: One way that you can have your cake and eat it too is to schedule in “distraction time”. If you know you will want to check the sports scores, make a daily schedule and alot yourself a few minutes spread throughout the day to do so. When those minutes are up, get back at whatever it is you wanted to do!

Clear your head: With those bigger distractions, quick fixes aren’t usually the answer. For these you will need to set some time alone or with someone who can help you process whatever it is that is hounding you. One of my greatest joys as a coach is helping clients create a breakthrough in their lives where they previously felt trapped.

If this is something that has been on your mind I encourage you to reach out. At OnBoard Coaching our first session is free and we always welcome new clients! Hope this article wasn’t too distracting 😉

Leave a Reply