Sunday, August 10, 2014


Distractions, distractions, they're not constructive actions
Some can be fun, like opposite attractions,
but most are a waste like TV and addictions,
leading us to a world of living major fictions.

The distractions of life in the 21st Century are endless…We are ALL attention deficit !! Having a phone/computer in our pocket 24/7 doesn't help, and add to this the fact that many of these "phones" can receive and deliver mail, play movies and video games, send us the news updates to the second, etc., etc. it's amazing that we do anything but stare at our "smart" phone all day.

They ARE an amazing tool. But only a tool and should be thought of as helpful and enjoyable but not ESSENTIAL  to life. There is a point where they detract from life.  As the Buddhists say about life in general, our "attachment" is the problem. When we can take it or leave it, we can be in the present moment and have freedom. If we are strongly attached to it, we are being controlled by something other than ourselves. Add to this the general distractions of life: commuting, working, children, ACTUAL phone calls, emails, etc., it is overwhelming and it is making many of us ill. My previous articles mention ideas for slowing down and paying more attention to the IMPORTANT stuff. It isn't easy to do, but it will be rewarding.

As our world speeds up and (believe me) more distractions are added, we need to prepare ourselves. After we DO sort through to the important stuff, we need to keep it in the forefront of our lives so the distractions just pass us by like fog in the night. We need distraction safeguards. I believe that one core safeguard is having a deep understanding of what things in life are most important to us; add the most quality. Take the time to dig deep and find these gems and hold them close. They are the treasures that make life worth living and the MUST shine through the distractions!

5 suggestions to keep distractions to a minimum (no electronic devices allowed):

1. Learn to be still. Take 15 minutes to sit in a park or in nature somewhere and just focus on your breathing. If real nature is unavailable, keep a photo or painting of a nature spot that is special to you and focus on that. You will return to your "busy" tasks refreshed.

2. Take a walk or do some stretching and work on positive thoughts if thoughts come up. Breath in deeply on a positive thought and blow out deeply all stress, tension and negativity you were holding onto. 15 to 30 minutes per day decreases your stress and will add to your longevity --- at work and long term.

3. Use the Pomodoro Method. The Pomodoro Method basically requires you work in sessions and then rest. Choose one task you really need to get done, like making a set of reports. Set a timer for 25 minutes and completely immerse yourself in the task. Once it dings take a short break and grab some coffee(or do one of the above).

Why it works?
The reason this technique works is because working hard eventually leads to massive burnout. What the technique does is allow you to stay productive without losing too much energy. You may discover that some activities require more 25 minute sessions than others and have a simple visual display of the work involved in a project. It also forces you to cut down on interruptions and be more firm about ignoring distractions. Most importantly it helps us better project outcomes and project timelines off the top of our head as opposed to poor estimates.

4. Family time: Have a rule of no electronics and no responding to rings, bells or buzzes (SO Pavlovian!) during dinner time. This includes having the TV off. It appears that a majority of American households have the Boob Tube on during dinner. Let's turn this trend around! And dinner time should be a minimum of 30 minutes. No rushing through meals. Have a nightly topic of conversation picked out so family members are prepared to converse.

5. Have a solid foundation. Understand what is Quality of Life bedrock for you. Then learn to say NO to all that doesn't support this. My workbook is a great start to define this. There is no substitute for knowing yourself and being true to yourself!