Addicted to Distraction

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Can I have your attention? I have lost mine.

Have you noticed that you’re too busy being distracted to focus on anything?         

My family lives in an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) positive home. Distraction is a biological fixture in our lifestyle. Lately, I am beginning to believe that distraction is contagious and that I have come down with a bad case. Worse yet, perhaps my distraction habit has become a distraction addition.  Focusing on one thing now seems boring and un-natural.  I think that being distracted has evolved into my normal state.          

When I focus on how distracted I am, I don’t like it.         

How about you? Can you focus solely on these words long enough to actually think about them in one sitting?         

Surrounded by Distractions

As I sit comfortably semi-reclined in my living room, one of our two basset hounds is snoring loudly. The other hound has a hard to reach itch that requires sporadic scratching which results in dog tag jingling. I have a small envelope icon in the right corner of my screen that indicates that I have unopened mail. My Blackberry is on my coffee table and is blinking its red new message light. I have no less than 20 partly read and very interesting books on my end table next to my chair seeking my undivided attention. Next to the table is my overflowing magazine basket. I’ve not had breakfast yet so my tummy engineers are making their first calls to my brain requesting more food soon. At any moment my bladder will announce on my inner intercom that my two mugs of coffee have been successfully processed and need emptied. I need a shower and shave in a few hours. There are at least four work projects that could use a couple of check marks on my to-do list. The yard needs scooped. At any moment, my daughters will awake and ask, “What are we going to do today?” What was I talking about? Oh, I was writing my blog about being distracted.         

I’ve invested so much time in being distracted that I am too poor to pay attention.         

Sound familiar?         

News flash: The human brain does not have a multitask function.

I hear my father’s patient voice saying, “One thing at a time son.”         

If you are hoping I am going to give you 7 tips to better focus, I’m sorry to disappoint you.         

Distraction Recovery

I recommend several great books by Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert on dealing with distraction and “Fully Present” by Susan L. Smaley and Diana Winston. Do as they say, not as I do at the moment.          

Lately, I’ve cranked up at work to drown out the construction noise from next door. “Brown Noise” is my personal favorite.         

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Hi, my name is Andy, and I’m a distraction addict.         

First step to recovery complete! Man, do I feel better. Oh look, a squirrel!!!! The dogs want to go outside. Here come the kids.         

It didn’t take long to relapse.         

I hope you will join with me and start to recognize and cut distractions. Distractions are conspiring to rob us of our productivity, sanity, energy, creativity, and focus.         

If you’ve made it this far without distraction, there is hope for you yet!         

I think dad is right, “One thing at a time.”         

What distracts you? How is distraction impacting your life? What can you do to reclaim your focus?         

This is National AD/HD Awareness Week. 

Trust me, AD/HD is real!  Learn more at:     

About Andrew W Dix, MS, BCC
Author, Board Certified Executive Business Coach, Trainer, Reiss Motivation Profile Master and Private Pilot. Expertise in motivational intelligence, leadership development, strengths, management, coaching, and change management. Available for keynote addresses.

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