driven to distraction

How many times have you had a great idea and filled with inspiration and momentum switched over to a productivity app or a post-it to jot it down only to be distracted mid-thought? This happens to me every single day.

I troll the Internet for advice on how to thwart distractions and sharpen my focus. The last time I Googled there were 25,000,000 search results to scroll through. 25 million! On just as many pages, I might add. Even Siri couldn’t provide an adequate estimate of time on how long it would take me to read all of it. Although there was a really great article on how to measure the distance of a light-year, I digress.

And, has this ever happened to you? You’re in the middle of writing this fantastic blog piece (literally, this one) and the processing unit on your Macbook starts to kvetch. You know what I’m talking about, the little rainbow pinwheel that seems to spin into infinity as all these thoughts run through your mind like a conveyor belt on overdrive. All the while your thumb typing a note on your phone as quickly as possible hoping to not miss a synapse of intelligence as you wait for the disk utility to run a diagnostic test. And you realize how bad it is when Force Quit is frozen.

“You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.” — Tom Kite

Then finally, you’re back to it…uhm, if only you could remember what IT was. Just kidding! But seriously speaking nothing is safe from the distractions of living in a technologically connected world. Even as I’m typing a friend is texting me sending a symphony of sounds through the apartment because although I muted my computer, all my devices are connected, and well, you can figure out the rest.

The only time I can actually focus is when I’m on the mat with the soothing voice of the instructor, the repetition of breath and movement, and yes, even in the ambient noises of my fellow yogis grunting and sighing through the poses.

My yoga studio is a 2-minute walk from my apartment (and my home office). I make a conscious decision to leave my phone in its charger while I’m at class. This is my daily 90-minute technology-free zone. For some, that may seem like a huge chunk of time, and for others, it may not seem like much at all but any amount of time you consciously dedicate to yourself is a positive thing.

When you will yourself to focus, the things that matter most rise to the top of your priorities. When you will yourself to focus, you cultivate resistance to the distractions that may cross your path. When you will yourself to focus you realize you are the key to your own success.

It’s something I have to remind myself of every single day.


This piece originally posted on Medium. Photo Credit: (c) Andrea Preziotti, 2016.

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