As I type this post, I’m distracted. The last few months have been filled with emergent situations, plans that go awry, and fatigue. Add to that mass shootings, soaring gas prices, monkey pox, and a resurgence of COVID and distractions multiply exponentially.
Life is filled with the unexpected. Learning to overcome distractions, and maintain forward motion despite them, requires patience, focus, and intentionality.
Learning to overcome distractions, and maintain forward motion despite them, requires patience, focus, and intentionality.
Following are keys to working through distractions:
Okay, I admit, this is tough, especially for women. We tend to think globally, allowing emotions to get involved, one issue to spill over into another, and needing to talk through everything. However, when distractions abound, compartmentalizing is sometimes the only way forward. While a big issue niggles at the back of my mind, demanding attention, I’m pushing it into a closet and closing the door on it until I finish other tasks. By learning to compartmentalize issues, you limit distractions and make headway.
Like compartmentalizing, focusing is just as challenging. For me, making a list helps. Place the easiest and/or most urgent tasks at the top of the list and those that require more brain power or time below. However, remember you don’t have to be a slave to your list. If inspiration and creativity suddenly make an appearance, utilize them. Don’t stifle either in favor of sticking to your list order. While we often think of working on a task until it is completed, give yourself permission to work on multiple projects at a time, if that increases your productivity.
I know, this sounds in direct opposition to the two points above, but sometimes deviating from your normal routine fuels ideas and sparks creativity. But be aware that deviation can quickly turn into distraction if not corralled. So, take that walk, sit outside, read, shower, but limit yourself to a specific time frame and then get back to work. Some of my most productive writing time occurs after I take a break.
One of our biggest distractors is at our fingertips or easily pulled from our pockets. Technology is a great thing, but it is also a time waster. Focus is much easier with cell phones out of reach in another room. A timer is also an effective way of employing self-discipline. Although a challenge in many areas of life, discipline keeps you on track and reduces the stress that comes with procrastination.
Discipline keeps you on track and reduces the stress that comes with procrastination.
What does prayer have to do with overcoming distractions? Everything. When you pray, asking God to help you quiet distractions and stay on task, you invite God to be involved. God’s power is greater, his knowledge is broader, and his wisdom is vaster than our finite minds. With divine help, you can limit distractions and accomplish your goals. Distractions will only win if you allow them to take over.
“I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NET).
God’s power is greater, his knowledge is broader, and his wisdom is vaster than our finite minds.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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