Overcoming Distractions (Part 1)

Photo by Gilles Lambert on Unsplash
  1. We use distractions to divert our attention from life problems. It’s an escape we use to keep ourselves from going mad.
  2. So are distractions bad? Sometimes, no. Most of the times, yes. The problem is when those distractions become too overpowering that we procrastinate to deal with the problem, or worse, totally dismiss the problem altogether.
  3. Some of the obvious things that came to mind when we’re asked about the types of distractions nowadays include social media, computer/ mobile/ console games and television. But what most people don’t realize is that things like food cravings, friends and even our people pleasing trait can also be considered as distractions.
  4. The rush that we get when we post something to social media is comparable to the feeling when we pull the lever on a slot machine. And the feeling we get when we receive a notification of someone liking or commenting back to our post is comparable to hitting a jackpot on the slot machine. It is highly addictive.
  5. Television series are designed with cliffhangers at the end of their episodes to get people hooked. The convenience of on-demand streaming services means we can watch an entire season back-to-back.
  6. Hanging out with friends helps us feel a sense of belonging. Humans are social creatures anyways.
  7. We are easily distracted from doing whatever we are supposed to be doing because we have trained ourselves so well to be distracted. Therefore, most of the times, we need to overcome distractions so that we can get other stuff done.
  8. So we know the “what” – all those distractions mentioned above and more. But what about the “why”. What is the specific reason you want to overcome distractions? Do you have an assignment that’s due in a week? Do you want to go to the gym more often to buff out or lose weight? 
  9. Pro tips: whatever your motivation is, try to frame it so that the end goal sounds positive. Instead of saying “I need to submit the assignment so that I don’t flunk that subject”, try saying “I want to finish this assignment so that I can get one step closer to becoming a highly competent engineer”. Or instead of saying “I need to lose weight so that people don’t make fun of me anymore”, try saying “I want to live a healthy lifestyle and feel more confident about my appearance”.
  10. Now that we know the “what” and the “why”, let’s take a look at the “how”. The first step to overcome distractions is to become self-aware. The next time you’re scrolling down your social media feed or marathoning a TV series, pause for a second and take note of what’s going on. Think of what you were doing before that, how you ended up doing what you’re doing now, and what do you wish to get out of doing that activity. And most importantly – are you supposed to be doing something else instead? Be honest with yourself. This will help you understand the core issue of why you are distracted in the first place. 
  11. Take some time and practice being self-aware. Once you’re comfortable with judging yourself, you can take the next step to overcome distractions.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

What do you think of this post?