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Surviving Distractions: How to identify them and how to stop them

By Felicia Clark 

I sit down to do a write-up with my deadline for completion in two days. After showering, I change into my pajama bottoms and an oversized shirt. I grab a glass of wine, chips, and my laptop. My blanket and pillow are on the sofa. My rain sounds are going. I decided that everything's in place. I plop onto my sofa and proceed to write. All of sudden, PANDEMONIUM.
“Ma! Can you please bring me a towel?! I forgot to grab one!” One of my sons yelled from the bathroom.

After grabbing a towel and handing it to an awaiting hand sticking out the slit of the bathroom door, I sat back down upon the sofa and proceeded to write. 

Ring! Ring! Unh unh, not answering. The phone stops ringing. Ring! Ring! Same number. Not answering. Then it rings AGAIN! Same number, belonging to my bestie. She’s called 3 times in a row. She never does that. Something must be wrong. I decided to call her back and try to make it short; no more than 10 minutes, tops

Thirty minutes later, she’s just getting started in her rant. After another fifteen minutes listening to her go off, she decides that she is done for the rest of the night. She hangs up and continues with her evening. Meanwhile, I’m left drained. My head is hurting, I’m tired, and I’ve downed not one but two glasses of wine. Lights out, I’ll go at it again tomorrow. 

The very next day, after work I headed to the library. I made it a point to tell my children that disturbing me mustn’t happen. Unless it was absolutely necessary, I’d be gone for a few hours. It was a snowy night; very windy. I made up my mind to do some work. So off to the library I went.

Back in the day, libraries were quiet. “Shhh!” Was commonplace when u talked above a whisper. But not least not at my neighborhood library. There were people reading, but there were also, kids screaming, yelling, jumping around. No-one stopped them. I got set up and moved to the computer station. I set my phone to vibrate; just in case my kids' text. I planned to take no phone calls. I found rain sounds on YOUTUBE, went to my GOOGLE docs and proceeded to have a successful writing session until….

Bzzt! Bzzzt! Text from my eldest son:
"Mom I’m sure my check is in the mailbox. You have the mailbox key.
 I need my check.
When are you coming home?
Complete with the crying emoji."
This is a joke, right? I sat glaring at the screen. Then, I heard this…
”Man, look! You better give me my damn money! I ain’t playing no games!
I don’t give a f*ck where we are!” 

Aight I'm head out.

WE all face distractions. We must recognize who or what they are to set up an adequate defense.

For example:
  1. Do you have time for that phone call? People tend to have impeccable timing. A personal relationship of any kind can often provide the expectations that you have to be readily available to any and everything your friends are family need you for. This is untrue if it’s not urgent, do you really need to take the call?
  2. Silence your phone and turn off your TV. Get off social media. Hulu and Netflix. Did you know that taking time out to achieve your goals falls under Self-Care? Dopamine is the achievement hormone. Concentration, alertness, long- term memory, creativity, and focus are all aligned to the achievement hormone. Without these, unless you hit the lottery, achieving is pretty much impossible.  Once you begin to see the fruits of your labor, dopamine levels increase. You’re basically feeding and nurturing yourself. It’s a NATURAL stimulant. 
  1. Prioritization is key. Set aside a time each day to handle your business. Return emails, calls, all things that require your attention at designated times. So that you are available and all in for each goal you set for yourself. This helps you from attacking multiple tasks at once. Multitasking is a skill for some, and a burden for many. Tackle one thing at a time, so you have the clarity required to see it through completion.
  2. Recognize your personal pariahs. What is causing you to not think straight? Be honest with yourself. Are you stressing over a relationship that ended months ago? Did you spend 20 minutes talking about the one sentence that offended you at work 5 hrs prior? Sis, this and similar subjects are holding court in your head, and they are a waste of your valuable time.
  3. Create your routine. Set forth a strict regimen and abide by it, religiously. Set forth a list of what you WILL accomplish and revisit it regularly. 
  4. Find your workspace. Whether it’s your car, a closet, the pantry eating Cheetos, while you’re in a bath, use the space that allows you the freedom to think and focus. Make it your WAR ZONE of sorts.

In short, cut everything off at the jump.



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