Thursday, May 22, 2014

What I've learnt about dealing with distraction...

For the last few days, I’ve been buzzing with distraction. Especially in that little surprise window of time, when my son decides to take an out-of-the-routine-nap or is happily occupied with a new toy. These little windows of time pop up every now and then, a surprise package offering me the gift of doing something else or…squandering away that time as I buzz with distraction.

When suddenly presented with a square of time, a sand timer with its quickly emptying grains, a time to call my own, I’m excited at the prospect of hopping onto my laptop and writing something, dipping into that e-course, or surfing aimlessly in the web world, looking for some interesting blogs to read, websites to cruise over.

So, as my glass promises to brim over with all the things I can do with this little uncertain span of free time, I go into distraction mode.

Should I write that blog post?

Could I check out those new links?

Would I like to learn something?

What happens finally is that, I try to do a little of everything, pack in each of these things in those 15-25 minutes that have suddenly opened up in my day. I click on a website, quickly type another blog URL, snap open my email and Facebook accounts, write some thoughts on a blank document, then go back to check the blog and website. And so it goes. On and on, round and round in a futile circle till I’m lost in the haze of distraction, wondering what I really wanted to do, what needed to be done first.

And as my son wakes up or crawls up to me, bored with the toy, I leave the laptop with a sense of frustration, irritated at myself for not prioritizing and sticking to one or two things.

Of trying to do it all and failing to do any.

Of spending that time in a blank haze, wandering aimlessly in the web world, checking the same updates, skimming through half-a-dozen blogs without reading anything, writing just a few sentences that I’ll have to re-write anyway.

So, now, instead of giving myself a hard time about it, I’ve decided to prioritize. Instead of trying to do it all, I’ve learnt to list the top three things that need to be done and a couple of others that can be done if there’s enough time or else can be left to tackle on another day.

This is what I’m doing to tackle distraction – something a lot of us deal with as we juggle our multiple roles:

1. I think about the Big Rocks and the Small rocks i.e. what’s more important that particular day or what I feel like doing that day. Maybe it’s that e-course or that blog post that is begging to be put into words. Maybe, it’s a bunch of blogs that I just have to read. Maybe, it’s an assignment, the deadline looming large.

2. I write these down (most of the time) in my planner at the beginning of the day.

3. I tackle these one after the other whenever a window of time opens up and cross them out.

This way, I can leave the itch of distraction behind and do what makes me happy or needs to be done, and spend the rest of time, playing with my son (without the itch of getting onto the laptop bothering me).

How do you tackle distraction?


  1. I hear ya!I am so easily distracted and always have a million things to do at once.I used to be good at multitasking at work, but nowadays I am just plain inefficient.Having too many interests does not help either.I also make a monthly to do list for my craft projects and challenges etc that I need to work for.It works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't.If only I could focus on one thing at a time.Sighhh.

    1. Pallavi...It's okay to be where you are now. And I like your monthly planning idea.

  2. That was a nice read......simple and accurate.
    Shwetha Shetty


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