Distraction is a sure way to get nothing you want from life. It is a false promise, a coping mechanism, a panacea for overwhelm. Distraction is destructive. And it’s everywhere: our schedule, our emotions, our media, and our clutter. I’m going to show you practical ways to ditch distraction so you can Reclaim Your Life®!
Me too! I want ALL of my brain and relationships and space to belong fully to me, not to distraction.
Distraction keeps us running in all directions but never arriving.
But, you and I were meant to live a fulfilling, abundant life! Distraction derails the abundant life.
Distraction is basically a diversion. It’s a never-ending series of offers to take an exit from the intent or work in which we had endeavored. But since “the daily grind” can be monotonous and requires responsibility and character, those exits that come up on the highway of life are so very inviting. They promise change-of-scene. They promise the glory of the unknown instead of the pale of the known.
Multiple times a day, we’re given a choice to stay on the highway of our intent, or take an appealing off-ramp, not knowing if we’ll be able to get back to the highway at all.
WHY WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO GET DISTRACTED
It’s easy to fall into because distraction is at every turn, and it feels so innocent. And the more we give into distraction, it becomes a well-worn mental pathway that we continuously repeat.
- It can feel productive! I can zoom about all day tackling projects in my path, distracting myself from larger, far-more-important projects. But since these little things need doing (eventually) I tell myself they’re worth doing at that moment, reasoning that I’ll build momentum for the important thing. The problem is: by distracting myself, the “big thing” never gets done.
- Distraction offers a break or mental pause. We avoid applying ourselves or facing something difficult, or seeing something through, by defaulting to distraction. We “save ourselves” from the hard stuff by giving into distraction. (Now, some level of self-interrupting to get coffee or refresh ourselves during a long endeavor is a good thing; it keeps us going.) I’m talking about a lifestyle of “breaks” where we bail from what we really intended to do through ongoing rabbit trails.
- Our distraction can become our escape. We can build a dependent relationship with our distraction. Whether it’s our phones or our toxically busy schedules, we can become addicted to distraction because it offers us an “out.” We can “disappear” behind our distractions and escape and this is actually our way of retaining control in our life. Distraction can become a coping mechanism to deal with boredom, loneliness, stress, conflict, and overwhelm.
The painful truth is that pretty soon, our innocent “productivity,” “break,” or “escape” becomes our prison!
There’s probably endless types of distraction. Even good things can be a distraction if we let them. I want to look at four different kinds of distractions that are the worst offenders. These place a drain on our mental and physical space and quality of life.
The first kind is our distracted use of time.
Many of us are living in the rat race, rather than in the abundant life.
We’re scurrying here and there, and not stopping to evaluate the forces driving us.
The primary culprit of the distracted, haphazard life is our own jam-packed schedule.
We’ve created our own cruel task-master by NOT mastering our schedule.
Schedule distraction can take many forms:
- Chaos: When we live calendar-less and haphazardly, we careen from one burning hot task to the next, we are constantly disappointing ourselves (and others) and leaving loose ends.
- Overwhelm: When we overbook our lives, we not only burn out our relationships; we burn out our bodies!
- Demands: When we live out of obligation or pressure, trying to please others or live up to expectations, we can enter into resentment, which is really of our own making.
Whether your calendar feels chaotic, overwhelming, or demanding, you are the one in control here. You are the only person who can end your schedule distraction.
Schedule distraction prevents us from thinking and acting with intention, leading to a disordered life. In order to take back your life, you are going to need to rethink and reset how you invest your time.
Start with what you WANT for your life and build your schedule around that. If you need help identifying your life priorities, be sure to download our free worksheet Roadmap to Priority-Based Living.
Examine the stress in your schedule and evaluate what demands and obligations under which you may be living. You can dismantle the power of these stressors and expectations by simply identifying them and replacing them with new thinking and choices.
After you’ve taken dominion over schedule distraction, you’ve put on your own oxygen mask. Now that you’re not driven or tethered to time, you can take the next step to cut the cords of emotional distraction.
In my view, internal order is the precursor to physical order because whatever we believe and think about on the INSIDE, we manifest on the OUTSIDE.
Therefore, decluttering our mental and emotional distractions is key to our success at organizing our physical world.
Think about it, if you resent doing the paperwork and bills because you really think it should be your spouse’s job, you aren’t too likely to either do a good and orderly job of it, much less enjoy it.
What we think about drives our actions.
Toxic thinking about ourselves and others is just plain bad for us and it slowly destructs both.
We can so easily get distracted by our emotions and the “tapes” that play in our mind.
Internal order is the precursor to physical order because whatever we believe and think about on the INSIDE, we manifest on the OUTSIDE.
This emotional distraction includes:
- Judgment and unforgiveness
- Discord and strife
Reprogramming these often life-long mental patterns is a PROCESS, not an overnight fix. It’s a process that is essential to your mental health. Internal decluttering is the most important work we can do to restore our souls and relationships.
Start cutting out of your life toxic relationships, thoughts and habits. If you need help doing this, I personally have benefited from:
- The mind-rewiring work of neuro-scientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, including the many resources on her website, her ground-breaking book “Switch On Your Brain,” and daily inspiration from her Instagram page.
- The non-profit Bethel Sozo ministry, which is offered by many churches worldwide, to help set people free from unforgiveness and stuckness
- “The Healing Code” book by Dr. Alexander Lloyd – one of my personal favorite books. I think this book is a MUST read for anyone wanting to offload mental, emotional, and even physical challenges. Millions worldwide have been healed by the practice this book teaches.
Heavy burdens will come off your life as you begin to lighten your mental load. As you get increasingly healed and clear, you’ll be shocked how much DISTRACTION you were experiencing by the constant emotional noise you were experiencing.
Since you’ll be growing in freedom as you seek and practice clean thinking, you will be able to address another HUGE distraction: our modern-day addiction to media.
I would guess that the majority of people nowadays unknowingly (or knowingly) use media to escape, hide, and placate themselves. Yep, that includes YOU and ME. But once we see how deep-in we are, and what it’s costing us, we can make empowered choices to ditch the media distraction.
Our constant ability to syndicate our lives and entertain ourselves has made us the loneliest cultures worldwide. The very thing we are told will connect us has actually DISconnected us.
Just think about the enormous impact of technology and media in our homes: phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, charging stations, cords, drives, video games, consoles, and accessories clutter up our space and vie for our attention. They require storing, charging, all with different (always lost) cords.
We can’t even be separated from them when we sleep; they’re our alarms. They’re our workout companions and coaches. Technology can control our ovens, our sprinkler systems, and our lives. Whole-house responsive systems spy on us, re-market to us, and we just keep getting deeper in.
Most of us don’t even realize we are deeply distracted by our media habits. We spend more time with mother-boards than our mothers.
We’ve got to take back control of our media absorption.
First, I recommend you just walk through your house, open drawers, observe countertops and nightstand and just BEHOLD the massive commitment we’ve made to media. This eye-opening exercise will hopefully spark some rebellion against “the machine” and inspire you to take back your life a bit.
Think about how you could down-level media’s mastery of your home: could you remove a TV from a few rooms, returning the focus to family interaction or fruitful hobbies? Could you donate old media to a local library or charity?
Get honest with your screen time. Most phones now can track and report to you your screen time. Once you’ve bravely assessed this, start setting limits. You’re in charge!
Purpose to get outside, put your feet in the ground and get away from the emissions and frequencies and reset your human frequency back to the earth!
Up-level your human interaction over media distraction. Call a friend, write a letter, plan a monthly dinner with girlfriends. Intentionally disrupt any lonely media usage with authentic relationships.
Wow! That was heavier than we probably thought! We’ve got to turn the tide on media controlling our lives, or we will be increasingly distracted and drained by it, rather than helped by it.
And if we can master the never-ending black hole of virtual media distraction, we can definitely take charge of our physical space!
As a professional organizer for over two decades, I can tell you that the main reason people call for help is because they are simply overwhelmed. Their physical space is encroaching on their ability to think and function.
Their clutter is a distraction and a liability, eroding their quality of life.
We have robust resources and lots of free resources to help you address every area of disorder in your life. If you haven’t recently, just check out our playlists on our Restoring Order YouTube channel!
If you’re distracted by all the stuff laying around in your space, here’s my advice:
- Focus on the daily-use issues first. Relieving the clutter in those high-traffic or use spaces will begin to dissolve your distraction.
- Then, organize your “public” spaces that guests and visitors use. This will restore connections for you when you feel like you can have people over again.
- Next, tackle your “private” spaces to improve your family’s quality of life
- Last, organize your storage spaces, which will be easier to do when all the other clutter distractions are resolved.
You can always hire an Order Restorer to help you address the clutter distraction in your life. We serve Oregon and Washington in person, we travel for services, and we also offer virtual organizing!
I hope you’ve been inspired to shut down the distractions in your life so you can get on with the business of living life to the fullest!
Be sure to download our related freebie “Ditch Distraction & Get Back to Living” which is a worksheet to help you analyze and address your draining distractions.
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