How do distractions effect our performance on the job and in our home environment? At times, I can be easily distracted and other times I am so focused on the task at hand that I do not even notice when someone is trying to get my attention.
What makes the difference? It may be a number of things but usually it boils down to intention. If our intentions are strong enough and we have a positive emotional connection to the activity, the chances of distractions are drastically reduced. Of course, we are probably more prone to attention deficit when we are tired or stressed out. When we are feeling relaxed and alert, our minds are more receptive to the direction of our will.
When something is important to us and imbued with emotional associations, focus comes easy. For instance, let’s say you are working on an employee performance evaluation. You hate doing evaluations and have no interest in completing these quarterly reports. More than likely, you will be easily distracted, Because this is not what you prefer to be doing, subconsciously, you may even look for reasons to become distracted.
Conversely, if you truly enjoy this activity, then you will be able to remain focused on your project and see it through to completion with little or no diversions. Even if you struggle with the informational content of the report, your enjoyment of the process along with your desire to fulfill your duty, will override most temptations to interruptions.
While writing this article, I am relaxing in a local cigar store enjoying a great stogie. I am the only customer in the store and a movie is playing on the television. There is nowhere to sit without hearing the TV and it is very distracting! Additionally, I am sitting in my favorite chair which is in view of the TV.
I thought it would be a challenge to write an article about eliminating distractions while placing myself in a position like this…and it really is a challenge! I find myself totally engrossed in writing for a few moments and tuning out the television completely. Then, without realizing it, I find my attention drawn into the movie. Even though I thoroughly enjoy writing for The Magic Happens Magazine and my intention to complete it is powerful. I still, at times, struggle with attentiveness.
This is not an ideal environment for writing and I would certainly prefer silence but, I also appreciate the practice of focusing and refocusing my attention on my work. It is a great exercise in training myself to use intention to regain focus. Each time I become distracted, I remind myself of the importance of my endeavor and my commitment to its completion.
Once I place my attention entirely back on my project, the flow returns and I feel satisfied that my passion for writing is being honored. That’s it! It is just a matter of positioning my attention again on my work each time it drifts away. It’s just like meditation. Whenever my mind wanders off, I just bring it back to my breath and the present moment. My attention falls under the discipline of my will. After all, my will and my intentions are under my control. It is merely a decision that I make to bring them into focus as many times as it takes to attain my goals. After all, repetition is the mother of skill.
Rumi once said, “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”