I often wonder how much more we as human beings could accomplish if we weren’t distracted by a thousand things every day! We need so much to focus on one thing at a time and complete it before moving on to the next. Yet the world too often seems to have other plans for our time.
Multi-tasking is rarely good for anyone although mothers somehow do it. I think they secretly have more arms and hands than the two we actually see carrying the kids and groceries. Angel arms and hands are helping them. And all mothers have eyes in the back of their heads. Few of us would be here today if they didn’t.
Those currently in power frequently try to distract the nation by calling attention to less significant matters so they can barrel some backroom garbage into law that will greatly harm the public. This includes healthcare, of course, but watch out for the dismantling of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It’s rumored to be secretly in progress. Or white-collar criminals simply invent crises that didn’t exist before.
Sometimes We Need Distraction
Not all distractions are bad but they do interrupt what’s going on. We may need to distract a young child so he or she doesn’t harm themselves. We may need to distract the puppy trying to teethe on Great-Grandma’s rocking chair or the young cat who thinks it’s his job to chop up earbud cords, sticky notes, and photographs. (And never let a rabbit near any electronics equipment!)
Women of a certain generation used to get scolded for letting themselves get distracted by soap operas on TV. Sometimes we distract ourselves now with our wonderful new gadgets. We need respite from all the voices yelling at us to do this, that, or the other! Laptops and tablets are definitely addicting if we don’t discipline ourselves, maybe by setting an old-fashioned kitchen timer instead of an alarm on our smartphone.
Even dumb phones have been my enemy for decades, clear back to the days of getting one unwanted sales call per week. Now the flood of unidentified calls happens all day and all evening every day. I learned to turn off the phone when I have mandatory work or a school assignment to get done or I just need to escape a stress-filled life.
A Major Distraction
A full-time job, though necessary and usually appreciated, can wreak havoc in a person’s life. We carefully plan medical and dental appointments and other personal events around our work responsibilities, web conferences, and other calls. Almost every time, someone at work changes the schedule, again and again. We are supposed to appreciate working in a dynamic environment but really it’s just a politically correct word for chaos.
My employer emphasizes work/life balance but for some job titles there’s really no such thing. And for the rest of us, the constant juggling repeatedly distracts us from accomplishing meaningful work on a timely basis. Broken hardware and software don’t help either. Being flexible doesn’t equal being a wet noodle. Of course, the same thing can happen in a volunteer environment when overworked folks just can’t get their act together.
Stress Takes its Toll
We can’t do everything at once and when relentless distractions overwhelm accomplishments, the stress takes its toll on the mind, the emotions, and the physical body. We want to scream, “Just go away and leave me alone!” but we usually can’t do that. Yet when the body is crying out for help and release from today’s toxic stresses, we suffer many illnesses and a lot of pain.
Prayer and reading the scriptures are very calming and redirect us so that we are facing the Savior and feel His love for us again. However, we also need to escape often from what is stressing us. Before the drought wrecked most of the Western states, I still had a backyard full of plants and birds and fish to sit in and relax. Nowadays, there’s nothing left in it. Plus rowdy neighbor parties till the early hours of the morning ruin weekend evenings for many people. Some are deciding to move away. I will do so in a heartbeat myself when it becomes possible.
For now when I can’t jump in the car and head out for a day or a weekend nearer the shore, I’ve been known to sleep for the better part of two days. It’s the only way to remove the black circles of stress from under my eyes.
We could all accomplish so much more if we didn’t live in a world that surrounds us with endless distractions. We need to try digging in our heels to turn them off.