Distracted by Distractions

Oh,  look at that shiny thing!

Do you ever look back at what you’ve been doing and realize you’ve spent far too much time consumed by stuff that has a lot less worth and long term value than you thought? That’s been my summer for the last week or two, and it’s frustrated me that I have let myself get distracted by distractions. My eyes have been diverted off what’s important. I’m not running in such a way as to win the prize. I’m not giving it my best.

Midwest summers conjure up childhood memories of riding bikes aimlessly, spending warm days doing little beyond sleeping in, hanging out with friends, or watching TV when it’s way too hot out. Breaks are good and even healthy. Speaking as someone without kids, sleeping in on Saturdays is amazing. And while a binge session after work feels like a good idea, (even when it’s “The OC”), the fact is it like many other small shiny objects have grabbed hold of my attention and energy in quiet but significant ways.

I am the first to admit that I have let tasks sit idly incomplete while I catch up on late night TV or the latest political news articles that fill my social media feeds. I turn on any device with a screen to scan social media or read an article that doesn’t have any bearing on anything I currently need to be concerned about. My writing frequency continues to be a source of personal disappointment because I haven’t left enough time in my day to be still with my thoughts long enough to let them fully form. I’ve let myself sweat the minutiae in situations I should have let go of days or weeks ago. Books go unread because I am sucked into other distractions that will provide some semblance of enjoyment quicker than finishing those three chapters on a topic that will likely be more enriching to my entire being.

I’ve learned that I also give into distractions when I’d prefer to not focus on myself. I’ve started asking myself what it is I’m hiding from. What are the Netflix binge sessions and extended screen time reading anything that isn’t edifying a deflection from? What am I avoiding?

I’ve done myself and ultimately everyone around me a disservice. I fail to be a better version of myself. All pay the real costs of distraction. Decisions to not focus on what’s important impact lives beyond ourselves.

Thankfully, every day is a new day with a fresh start. I was reminded today that “lost time” can still be redeemed. For that truth, I am grateful. It’s time to get refocused and set aside what doesn’t have lasting value.


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