When was the last time you were really focused, present, and in the moment? Not many people can answer this question and feel confident about it. The truth of the matter is that being distracted is all too common, a curse, especially in this modern times.
Merriam-Webster says “Distraction is something that distracts; an object that directs one’s attention away from something else.” Distraction happens every day, everywhere – be it at home, at work, in our social circles, and even within our family life.
“When we clutter our lives with imagined obligations, unnecessary activities, and distractions that only kill time, we dilute the power of our lives,” says Anne Katherine, a licensed therapist of 40 years.
Distractions shift our focus away from our primary interests. Whether accomplishing a task or reaching a goal, it even keeps us from enjoying life to the fullest.
Distraction in Today’s World
Without a doubt, people have been distracted ever since the world was, but the most distracted ones are people in this modern world. A study conducted by Asurion of 2,000 Americans showed that Americans, even during a vacation, check their mobile phones 80 times a day on average. Some even admitted to checking their phone five times an hour. That’s a lot of distraction.
Considering the amount of information you can get from your phone at a glance, the distraction adds up and prevents you from focusing on what you need to do, not only in the moment but potentially with a big part of your life.
Husbands and wives barely talk as they are busy looking at their phones. How many children are now spending most of their time with their gadgets? It’s sadly not unusual anymore to see family members at the table starting at their phones rather than engaging with each other these days. Even worse is the number of accidents due to phone usage or distraction in general while driving. In 2020, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 individuals in the US. This led to many states now having laws against phone use, and other forms of distraction while driving.
Other Forms of Distraction
If we are to talk about distraction brought about by technology then we can go on and on. But this time let us talk first about other examples of distraction we may not be fully aware of.
Distractions At Home
Familial relationships can never be underrated. Your family is very influential and its effect on you lasts a lifetime. Toxic family life or lack of family relationships negatively impacts the well-being of every individual. So maintaining a strong and supportive family relationship is important.
The key to a healthy family relationship is not necessarily the length of time spent together but the quality of time enjoyed as a family.
We should give our dedication to work as adults, and to school for young individuals.
Social life with friends and colleagues is also an important aspect of our lives. But when these things start to crowd our lives leaving out time for the family then they become distractions.
Career-oriented individuals who take their work at home or go out with friends in place of family time are missing out on family life. Not to mention being constantly on the phone, and constantly watching out for other people’s lives or events that have nothing to do with you while being absent from the life of your family are capital D in distractions
Playing games on your computer or your phone, and being on social media makes you absent not only in your loved ones’ lives but also in your own life. When was the last time you took a moment to meditate and just keep in touch with how you feel at the moment? You sleep with your phone and get too distracted, failing to even just say goodnight to your family.
Individual hobbies when engaged in the extreme can also be a distraction to one’s family life. Your own interests are important but be careful to not let them become a distraction to fulfilling what you really want in life. Never get too busy to do anything but spend your time on your hobbies.
Distractions At Work
Besides gadgets, social media, and the internet distracting your family life, they can also be distracting you at work. Other distractions worth mentioning are the urge to gossip or chat with co-workers, cluttered work space, hunger or sleepiness, and even office noise.
Let’s talk about them a little bit.
Office Gossip or Chitchat – Building a good relationship with co-workers is essential. It can be done through daily conversations to create a friendly and collaborative atmosphere in the workplace but don’t get carried away to the point where it begins to become a distraction.
Let’s admit it, chatty co-workers kill productivity at work. Not to mention how office gossip can destroy working relationships in the process. So best to resist the urge and close the doors of your office if you have one when it’s time to work. You can also place an earphone if allowed and not inappropriate) to protect you from office noise or to give a signal that you are not available for chitchat.
Workspace Clutter – An employee’s focus may also be affected by a dirty desk or office. Employees struggle to concentrate on their tasks when there is chaos and confusion present in the workplace. So it is important to constantly clear your desks of documents or things you no longer need. Create a good filing system better yet use an electronic document management system.
Hunger or Sleepiness – You might be surprised to learn that hunger is a distraction, but can anyone really focus when hungry? Take your scheduled lunches and take your breaks so you can concentrate when it’s time for work.
Something To Think About
It is very easy to get distracted, especially in modern times when you can be bombarded by information at a glance, and when you constantly want to be involved in everything that is happening around you.
The most important thing is to find that balance in your life and be in the moment when you choose to give your time to something that you know is important to you. Perhaps the most important time is also the time you spend listening to yourself – what you really want, setting small goals each day so you know when you are drifting away from your goals and getting distracted.
What we invest our time in represents our mental and emotional state, if we’re really ready to do something, or not so much. Being more self-aware of our distractions, in a non-judgmental way can really help us not force ourselves into anything, therefore we’re less likely to feel pressured or even feel angry at ourselves for not staying on course. Instead, it can be a moment of self-reflection, where we can be honest with who and where we are today, and that could also affect our relationships with others.