Are You Getting Derailed by Distractions?
Sometimes, I sit down to write and I literally resist what is trying to pour onto the page. Distractions are a dime a dozen, making it almost impossible to get things done. So I ask you, check around your life and see – Are you getting derailed by distractions?
Distractions happen. For me, they happen when I check text messages or find myself scrolling through Instagram…and suddenly wake up and realize I need to put my phone on the other side of the room if I want to get anything done.
Don’t get me started on the ways we distract ourselves with food in our culture. It starts with snacking to avoid doing a task at hand or eating to avoid connecting with others at a party where you might feel uncomfortable. Or overeating to gain connection with your favorite aunt who thinks you need to eat more.
No matter who you are and how big you are playing, you are managing the temptation of constant distraction. It is almost a detailed internal game to stay focused in a world that is built to keep people scrambling, disconnected and without focus.
We live in a world of distractions and if we allow them, they will keep us spinning in circles, doing things that ultimately don’t move the needle in our life aspirations.
This got me thinking of three questions that build upon each other when it comes to getting derailed by distractions:
- Why, oh why, do we get so caught up in distractions that we have to pry ourselves away from them?
- How are these pesky distractions derailing us from playing a bigger game in life and living full out?
- What is the cost of being distracted and playing within tight boundaries instead of spreading our wings?
Let’s dive into the “WHY” we get derailed by distractions:
- They Are Comfortable – They feel all comfy cozy, like hanging out with a best friend or snuggling on the couch in a big blanket. They are usually simple to do and require almost no extra mind power or extreme output of energy.
- It’s the Perfect Way to “Check Out” – Life is busy and can be stressful; distractions are the perfect way to check out of life stressors and fill up time. They provide us with the ability to feel like we are getting things done but allow us to stay nice and comfy in our cozy comfort zone.
- They Keep Us Feeling Safe – When we busy our life with distractions, we feel safe inside the bubble of what we know. Distraction usually don’t require us to really put ourselves out there. And putting yourself out there is like getting into the deep end of the pool – sink or swim. That sensation threatens our sense of safety. Our brains figure, why not wade in the shallow end where our safety feels absolute?
When you are thinking of getting derailed by distractions, the biggest realization comes when we look at “HOW” distractions are derailing us from playing a bigger game and living life full out.
You might be thinking, why do I want to play a bigger game and live life full out? I feel happy in my comfort zone and happy with my distractions. Stick with me as we go deeper into distraction-land and how distractions keep us from having what we want in life. Ultimately, we all want certain things out of life (if we are being honest with ourselves).
3 Things Distractions Do
1. Suck Up Time
Distractions are always time-consuming. Whether you are snacking over the sink at night while watching TV, scrolling through your social media accounts, chatting with a best friend for two hours about the endless problems that will never be solved, or staying in a roller coaster relationship that pulls all of your energy into its vortex.
The list goes on with a multitude of ways that we maintain a constant state of distraction, and the truth is that all of it is using up your precious time. We all have 24 amazing hours in the day to use as we see fit. We have to become present about how we are using our time.
You can start by doing a 15-minute time tracking exercise on any given day to become aware of how you use your time. Use a sheet of paper and write down every 15 minutes – what you are working on or doing for a whole day. This will help you become present to how much distraction is happening in your life.
2. Don’t Foster Self-Confidence
I have come to realize that any behavior or action that you take that is deemed a distraction is likely not building your self-confidence. In fact, it is often making your feel less confident.
The late-night snacking before bed because you are not looking forward to your next work day, the scrolling through the perfect façade of social media, the relationship that makes you feel bad about yourself. All of these are contributing to how you feel about yourself. Imagine if many of these distractions are at play at one time. It is enough to really tank someone’s self-confidence.
To recover your self-confidence, stop engaging in actions that are going to damage it. Take a break from social media for a day, don’t answer the phone when someone negative is calling, throw away the tempting snack foods in your pantry, and start taking back your inner personal power.
3. Breed Low Frequency Patterns and Actions
When we engage in actions and patterns that create feelings of anger, discontent, sadness, frustration, self-loathing, shame or guilt, we create cyclical patterns in these low frequency emotions.
These patterns become addictive and tie up all of our energy in cyclical events that keep us feeling disconnected from our highest self. This is the number one way we keep ourselves from having the things in life that would bring us the most joy and fulfillment.
The way out of these patterns and low frequency feelings is connection with people, experiences, and beliefs that are high frequency and that illicit feelings of joy, happiness, empowerment, and enlightenment.
Want a tribe of friends who are high vibing?
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So, what is the cost of being distracted and playing in tight boundaries rather than spreading our wings?
The cost is the joy, happiness, and sense of fulfillment that comes when you live with both feet on the court. The cost is great, but not only for you: for your loved ones and for the people in the world who would be helped and affected by your most joyous self. When you expand what is possible in your life – whether that is bettering your health, finding a new joy, starting a new business, falling in love or whatever it is for you – you start to shine.
You’ll start feeling confident, less distracted, and more willing to take action that breeds more joy. You begin to live on an upward spiral, and that begins to create new amazing moments in your life – moments that give you goosebumps, moments that are unforgettable. Sounds pretty darn cool, right?
In full disclosure of the role that distractions play, I got distracted five times while writing this article. It happens to all of us. The question is, how long do you stay distracted? For me, it was less than a minute before I reconnected to continue writing. Distractions used to side track me for hours. It is all about progress not perfection. Here’s to stop being derailed by distractions and more forward action toward your most illuminated self!
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