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Distraction as a Pain Killer

Is reading this article a distraction for you right now?

Here is a quick self test: have you been in the middle of something else? Something that would have needed your full concentration or have you actively made the choice to read this article? And maybe there is a message coming up this very second or a child calls your name or the dishwasher beeps or ... and you won't take the three minutes to continue this article with your full attention?

We get distracted so easily, don't we?

We know we should be working on our project, but we quickly check our e-mail. We know we should be finishing that essay, but we quickly get a snack. We know we should focus on the presentation in front of us, be we quickly scroll through social media.

And the list goes on: how about when your daughter wants to tell you about her day at school and you are typing on WeChat. How about the moment your son scores a goal in football, but you didn't see it, because you were checking the news. Or when your old parents are trying to tell you about their day and you just don't listen because your mind is somewhere else.

By definition the word to distract means:

- to draw the attention or mind to something else -

Now why would we do that? Well, one reason is that whatever we did before the distraction made us uncomfortable. In some way or another we are experiencing pain. It is painful to write an essay, to focus on a presentation, to work on something that is challenging for us and to be creative.

And let's get real here: it might be even boring to watch a whole football game of your child or to play that specific board game for the hundredth time or to listen to a story of a friend or family member. It might be boring to pay attention to your boss or a co-worker during a presentation at work.

Boredom is also a form of pain.

And we don't like pain, do we? So we distract ourselves by doing something that is easier to achieve and makes us feel good. It is easy to check our e-mails, get a snack, read the news or scroll through social media. And we still feel busy.

But does it make you happy and satisfied in the long run?

Assuming you answer this question with a no, the quest now becomes to stop getting distracted and to stay focused.

And there are numerous tips on how to stay focused. Various experts will tell you:

  • to make a to do list and cross everything of when you are finished

  • to NOT make a to do list so you don't have to fight it in the first place in the hope that that mind trick will help you to stay focused

  • to plan out your whole day/ week and write it in your calendar

  • to come up with a reward system after a job well done

  • to team up with a colleague, friend or join a group to hold yourself accountable

  • to mute notifications for e-mail, social media, etc.

  • to not carry your mobile phone when you decide to do something important

  • to watch your diet and exercise routine so you have the physical strength to follow through with your goals

I hope you find these ideas inspiring and maybe you want to try them in the future, but as your coach I have a question for you: Why?

Why does it matter to you to stay focused and not get distracted?

Imagine a day at work where you didn't get distracted: what could you accomplish?

Imagine uninterrupted time with your children: the laughter, the connection, the joy.

Imagine to hold your book that you always wanted to write in your hands. You are now an author.

Imagine receiving your IB diploma, when you gave it your all. Would it make you proud? Where could it lead you?

What would your life look like if you didn't get distracted as often?

They always say, know your why and the how gets easy. Do you know your why?

COACHING because knowing your why makes all the difference.

One final thought: do you remember a time when you were fully concentrated, focused, mindful? You were so immersed in a task that you forgot everything else around you. Time stood still. You forgot to eat. You were caught up in what your were doing that very moment. Your mind was working beautifully.

It is a good feeling, isnt´t it? But to get to that feeling, we have to make an active choice to say no to a lot of distractions on the way.

Will it be worth it for you? Only you can decide on that.



- Steve Jobs -


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