Last time we saw that we have the option of taking control when distractions might throw us off course. Now let’s look at what some of those distractions are.
1. Communication devices
There are many sources of potential distraction, but the main one nowadays seems to be so-called communication devices (which so often hinder quality face to face communication!). These are the biggest culprits ie the phone, for actual calls, and the tablet/smart phone, with all its alluring apps, text alerts etc. These in turn carry further distractions such as Facebook, Instagram etc – good ‘servants’ but over-bearing ‘masters’ if you allow them to dominate your life.
Then there are interruptions from outside which have the potential of becoming distractions – people who walk into your office unannounced, phone calls you had not expected to receive that appear to demand immediate response (but rarely do), and so on.
The result of all these distractions and interruptions can be huge frustration, a lack of achieving what is needed, resulting in the inclination to over-work to make up for lost time. This then invades family life and can tempt you to sleep fewer hours, which leads to diminished performance resulting in a spiral of tiredness > under-achievement > yet longer working hours > yet greater tiredness….
3. Social media
Many preachers reckon it takes one hour of preparation for every five minutes of a sermon. I was alarmed to be speaking to a preacher a few years ago who told me that he just did not have time for such preparation due to the demands of email, Facebook etc. Demands? To me this exemplified a lack of self-control. Where are his priorities?
This is another distracting principle that is often held up as a virtue. People like being thought of as ‘high capacity’ who get a lot done. And there is of course some truth in this. However, multi-tasking can also cause diminished performance on any particular task as your mind is not sufficiently focussed on the job in hand; one task distracts your thoughts from another.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. I am sure you have many more things that are personal to you which you could add to the list. Remember, in this context they are enemies to fulfilled and effective living!
I encourage you to be on the alert. Those things that interrupt or deflect your thinking– the thought that ‘comes to mind’ etc. – can so easily appear to demand immediate attention. Don’t be tempted! Be self-disciplined and ‘park it’ for future attention. You may even find it has gone away when you return to consider it!
Next time we will turn our attention to the core solution – ‘focus’.