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Why We Love Distractions

Why We Love Distractions

    As I sat down to write just now, I was completely distracted by so many noises: my computer fan turned on and sounded more like a car motor than a laptop, the central heat in my house was rumbling along, a motorcycle zoomed by outside, the cats were crying outside my office door… I seriously wondered how I would be able to accomplish anything.

    And then, miraculously, all of the noises stopped at exactly the same time. Complete quiet. Complete stillness. All that I hear right now is the sound of my fingers hitting the keys to create the words that you are now reading.

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    I should be happy, right? I wished for silence, and that wish was granted. So why am I feeling so unsettled now? Why do I want to quickly open up Facebook just to see if someone (anyone!) has posted a new status update? Why am I suddenly fighting the urge to watch cute kitten videos on YouTube? Why am I praying that my inbox will notify me of a new message?

    Because now it is just me and my thoughts.

    There are absolutely no distractions to pull me away from them. And I am realizing in this very moment how very scary being alone in my office with just my thoughts can be. I am no longer able to run away from the gut-wrenching questions that tend to keep me from sleeping soundly at night or being at peace during the day. Will my writing be good enough? Am I good enough? Will it matter? Will I matter?

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    The allure of distractions

    We are all experts at putting up distractions so that we will rarely (if ever) have to face this uncomfortable feeling that I am facing right now. There is something so real and so vulnerable about simply being, isn’t there? It’s like standing in the middle of a crowded room completely naked – how many of us have had nightmares about this one? But seriously, without the distractions of TV, internet, phones, games, our job, the outside world – there’s no buffer between us and the questions we try so hard to avoid:

    See Also: Fear: Why We Can’t Just Be

    • Why am I wasting time working at this job that doesn’t feed my soul?
    • Why do I slave away on these projects each and every day only to bring home a check that is far less than what I deserve?
    • Why am I still hanging around friends who don’t feed my soul or make me laugh or fill me up in any way?
    • Why can’t I look at myself in the mirror without picking apart all of the parts that I can’t stand?
    • Why haven’t I confronted my mom about how hurt I am that she always forgets to return my calls?
    • Why can’t I seem to stay in a loving relationship and be happy there?
    • Why do I always have to have one foot out the door looking for something better? Why am I so unhappy?
    • Why is this the way my life turned out? Why am I always tired? Why have I gained so much weight?
    • Why haven’t I really given my art a go and seen if I could make a living with it?
    • Why haven’t I stepped up and put in my resignation at work?
    • Why haven’t I been brave enough to take the leap and start living my dreams?

    Well, no wonder we wouldn’t want to eliminate our distractions – who wants to be bombarded with all of these thoughts and pressures and demands? In many ways, it’s much easier to keep plugging along with our distractions firmly in place, so we never have to address what’s lurking just under the surface.

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    The happiness ceiling

    However, by not allowing ourselves to examine what’s underneath our distractions, we have created a happiness ceiling that we can’t rise above. So we could have a great job, a ton of money, all of the latest gadgets, and externally seem to have everything going really great – but if we are suffering inside and never taking the time to answer the questions that our souls are urging us to examine, we’ll only be able to reach a certain level of fulfillment.

    We all want to be happy, but are we all willing to do what it takes to get there? Are we willing to push our distractions aside and create the stillness necessary to be alone with our thoughts and really listen to our soul’s urgings? If so, we can start by simply acknowledging these whispers.

    Sit with them and listen to them without judgment. Write them down and pay attention to those thoughts that carry weight – that resonate within our souls – that elicit strong emotion. For example, if one of your whispers is telling you to leave your job, take some time to examine whether this carries weight:

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    • How does thinking about leaving your job make you feel?
    • Are you staying in it because you are afraid of leaving?
    • What is your job keeping you from pursuing?
    • How is it distracting you from living your ideal life?

    Once you have answered these questions (and any others that you come up with on your own), you’ll have a much clearer idea of which direction to go in. And then you can begin making changes to turn these whispers into fully integrated parts of your consciousness – and your life!

    Conclusion

    Let’s be brave enough to examine what’s really underneath all of the distractions that we have created in our lives. When we begin to address them one by one, we create space in our lives for our authentic selves to shine. We start to feel lighter. The happiness that starts to seep into our bodies is a lasting one, not a fleeting one that our distractions bring.

    On a personal note, I’m proud of myself for sticking with this article and not allowing myself to check Facebook or YouTube while writing it. I simply wrote through my inner urges to distract myself, which is something that makes me happy. So find some time today to sit in silence and see what comes up for you. I think you’ll find that if you eliminate your own distractions and listen to your soul, a true happiness will begin to emerge. And who wouldn’t be happy about that?

    (Photo credit: Mini zen garden via Shutterstock)

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    Why We Love Distractions

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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