The Art of Distraction

2ways.jpgI am the KING of being distracted. However, I tend to be distracted by things that are actually important. The bad thing about that is I feel justified and guilty at the same time.

I find myself having a plan for the day and easily diverting from that plan in order to accomplish something that, yes needs to be done, but yet isn’t on the plan. For example, I’m a web developer. To pay the bills I make websites. In order to maintain a balanced life I schedule out my week to a fairly precise timing. There is a time for work, a time for study, a time for class, and a time for family. Now, if I would stick to the schedule I actually think I’d get a WHOLE lot more done. However, while studying I check email… checking email leads to check a blog leads to editing a blog leads to answering a clients question leads to fixing a glitch on their site leads to…. spending my entire study time working.

I don’t have any answers here… so this post is basically pointless… except for the fact that it is distracting me from (let me look at the schedule)… yup, reading.

Do I need to post? Yes. Was I supposed to post 5 hours ago so I could be reading now? (sigh) Yes.

Anyone have any tips on keeping to your schedule… I’m a pro at making them… it is keeping them that I find difficult. Help?

Was this article helpful?

Written by
Ryan Burns
View all articles
  • Sounds like you need to keep the browser and email closed when you study (says the girl who just spent 2 hours reading my RSS feeds and responding to a couple of blogs instead of sleeping) 😉

    Seriously though,
    Step 1 is recognizing the schedule breakers.
    Step 2 is deciding how to change your pattern.
    Step 3 – put your plan into action. maybe even set up some accountability?

  • Tell me about it!

    What I have started doing is enabling multiple desktops (which I always had in Linux, but I am now forced on windows), and burying the e-mail client on desktop 4, the browser on desktop 3, other stuff on 2, and the things I am really working on stay on desktop 1.

    It still doesn’t always work 🙁 But, it definitely helps!


  • I think you need to find places to do certain things. For instance, I get very little school work done at home. So I need to find a place to do it, which is usually a coffee shop, or maybe a library if it is dark outside. I usually do take my computer with me when I go there, but for whatever reason I am able to focus a lot more. Home is a place of relaxation for me, and so I have to work way too hard to stay focused here.

    Maybe that’s an option for you? 🙂

  • l learned to turn off all programs that will alert me that a distraction is available (like apple mail or my feed reader). I also use a timer to let me know when I have worked for 45 min. I usually give myself a little time to mess around after I put a good 45 minutes in.

    A few months back I did what I called a “murder week”. It consisted of me going for broke for 1 week to determine how I waste time. I learned that the most of it was wasted when I was between tasks, like I have 30 minutes to kill before I have to go to work or class. I blogged about it and there is a category called “murder week”. It helped me look back at how I manage time and to better allow for a schedule that can change at any time.

  • I do my studying either on campus where I can’t get on the Internet or late at night after the family is in bed. My work schedule is set for me so that is non-negotiable, but my wife’s is not. I understand how that goes.

    My advice is to get legalistic about it. Set your schedule and check off what you have to do and when you did it. Get an accountability partner who will hold you accountable to being a good steward of your time. There is nothing that says you cannot incorporate biblical principles into everyday living is there?

    As for being distracted all the time, I couldn’t…oooh, shiny!

  • My advice is to get legalistic about it.

    Ha! I read this last week, but being distracted today I was reading comments (being distracted) and it just made me laugh. I appreciate the advice… but for some reason it just makes me chuckle. Maybe because it is so opposite of what I tell people in regards to their faith and God’s grace… to hear the advice, “get legalistic” just makes me laugh…

    Thanks terry. I’m going to get back to work now!

Written by Ryan Burns