October 11, 2019

Driven to Distraction

A Mess

My life is occasionally an unorganized mess with scattered papers and laundry, dishes rotting in the sink, journals begging for attention on the shelves, which brings me to dust, bountiful dust. But my books - my precious books … these gems are neatly posed and eagerly waiting to be read. I consider myself a bibliophile for particular non-fiction genres: women's adventures, stories written by women during "simpler" times; authors who write about writing; and, travel stories.   

Daily, I yearn to read from my pile of books, but am distracted by life's urgent pleas. I promise myself an afternoon to read …. "but first…” Something slinks around the corner whisking me away from reading. I know I choose to be distracted, but it's so hard to stay on track to what is important to me -- journaling, reading, writing, walking, planning. 

Power to change

I recall an interview that Detroit radio personality Paul W. Smith had with Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct. McGonigal was discussing her book and sharing how we could (possibly) improve our own willpower. She claims that if you are trying to quit …. "something" …. by performing deep breathing techniques the draw to that "something" is reduced. I don’t know if my distraction is from a lack of willpower or not, but do wonder if deep breathing would be worth a try in helping my focus.

Our routines and habits are deeply imbedded and, at times, it is much easier to play the blame game than to accept responsibility for our own choices. My distraction is in my control and pointing my finger at someone else (or guilt over a messy house) doesn’t accomplish anything internal, and may even delay the development of the (my) will to power through avoidance of things I enjoy doing.

I would love to truly embrace will (inclination, wish, disposition) power (control, mastery, stamina, energy). Would this loosen the bonds of excuses and help me find time to recharge with what's important (to me)? Dunno ...

As for now, my books are neatly lined up … waiting … and deep down I know that no amount of work can rival the satisfaction of taking a book off the shelf, finding a place to nest, and spending an hour of blessed reading. 

What is taking your attention away from your enjoyable activities?


  1. I LOVE the McGonigal twins! Yes to deep breathing and learning how to do it correctly.
    It is a life changer.

    Looking forward to your blog;)

    1. Twins - I did not know that. When anxiety due to overscheduling and back to back activities, deep breathing is difficult. When younger me was in yoga, deep breathing was extremely relaxing and could feel the difference immediately. Currently, I'm attempting this practice once a day with the same result. Thanks.

  2. So many things distract me....mostly my phone, but also t.v., preparing meals, cleaning....I really need to start scheduling time to be creative. I used to have a schedule when I was waaaaay younger....10 - 11 workout, 1 -2 sketch, 2 - 3 practce French, etc.....it worked for me at the time. I've been watching a new talk show, Mel Robbins, and she teaches the 5 second rule. Basically, you count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then get up immediately and do whatever it is...make a phone call, grab your journal and begin writing, put on your walking shoes...before you can think about it or change your mind. That technique helps me get out of bed in the morning instead of going back to bed! Ha ha! Love your new page!

    1. The 5 second rule is what I've always called tunnel vision where the discomfort (or dread) is blocked. I do like the idea of the 5 second rule - instead of used as a punishment, make it a technique to move forward in something. I like it! Time blocking for me is mostly successful where my calendar actually has slots where absolutely nothing will interfere with that time. Kimmy, you are so creative and do hope you can embrace your crafts - maybe winter would be a time you can get some pieces done. Thanks.


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