My daughter and I were discussing the blog the other evening and she asked, “Do you think it’s easy to get distracted from the things we really want to do?” “I don’t understand how it’s easy to get distracted when the things we get distracted with are things we want to do.” What an insightful question from an eight-year-old!
It’s extremely easy to get distracted from our purpose in a given moment. Our senses prey upon the world allowing our inquiring minds to hunt down what may be interesting or of benefit to us. We can be in the middle of an intense conversation and notice something out of the corner of our eyes which takes our mind off track. We can be working away on a paper or research for a class and get taken away from what we intended to do by advertisements or blips of information that pop up on our computer screen. We take a break that was intended to be a minute or two and wind up spending half an hour or more on some social media site or elsewhere.
Distraction is part of life and it is up to us to allow for it and manage it. We also have to put it in its place and own up to what we intend to do. Time is our greatest resource. The choices we make impact more than our own lives and eventual return to us as responsibilities consuming our available time. For example having kids. Our time to focus on our relationship with our spouse is severely impacted as we focus on keeping our jobs to provide for the kids. It’s no wonder more than half of marriages end in divorce when the energy used in creating the relationship is used for the kids instead of maintaining a good working marriage. We have to balance our responsibilities and commitments to the best of our abilities. When we don’t have enough time and resources to keep everything adapting to our present conditions, we have to let go of something. With kids as a priority, our jobs come second leaving our marital and personal health lower on the list and are let go in varying degrees.
As in life, my post is diverging away from my original intent of discussing distraction. Distractions are inevitable. Allowing for them, keeping our intent in mind, and managing our time are necessary to fulfill the purposes we set for ourselves. When distractions happen we simply need to enjoy them as much as possible thereby allowing for them in our lives. Additionally, distractions can be a source of creativity. Some of the best conversations meander following the distractions as the appear. Keeping our intent in mind requires us to review what we are doing on a regular basis and compare with the purpose we set out to do. If there is a mismatch we have to make corrections. This is managing the scope of our activity. After enjoying a distraction or avoiding it, we can return to what we need to get done. As far as managing our time, realizing our time is limited is critical. We need to know or at least estimate what it will take to get the job done and plan for contingencies including distractions. Planning extra time to, we can enjoy the inevitable distractions and even use them to enhance what we are doing to some degree.