The Art of Distractions

If there’s one thing I excel at, it’s distracting myself.

Social media has compounded this down into a concentrated little problem that affects everything I do.

I sit down to write and find myself scrolling while the limited time just slips away.

I tell myself it’s ok, but is it?

No! Of course not. The more I scroll the less time I have for creativity, for really getting into the flow.

World events haven’t helped. If anything I might argue that we’re constantly in need of distraction right now.

I used to call these little distraction breaks “brain breaks”.

That was before I realized the true nature of how distractions disrupt our work patterns and flows and the nature of being trapped within a social media algorithm.

My “brain breaks” frequently knocked me off task and resulted in who knows how much time spent trying to get back on task.

It wasn’t always like this. At one point I left my phone laying face down on the other side of the room or in another room altogether while I dug into my creative practice. At that time I was also a pitiful social media user at best, posting to instagram once every few months and checking Facebook only when someone asked me to.

The trouble began when I actively sought out ways to promote my writing. That meant leaning into social media, at least that’s what I thought. Over time I found myself writing less and scrolling more. I was effectively trapped by the algorithm. It learned my moves, thoughts … I swear it eaves drops on my conversations.

To counter this I’ve come up with a couple of novel ideas.

One is, of course, using screen time which is built into apple devices. Another is reverting back to leaving my phone facedown somewhere else. I can access social media from my computer but I’m far more likely to do it from my phone.

I’ve also considered removing the apps from my phone however I worry that will drive me to check it more from my computer, thus continuing the disruption process. Another consideration has been downloading an app that would effectively lock my phone down during certain periods of time.

So far the combination of screen time and leaving my phone face down seems to be working.

What are some of the ways you keep yourselves free from distractions? Do you use any apps to keep yourself off your phone or social media?

Picture from the Pexel’s photo library – shows two people hugging while checking their phones over each others shoulders

5 responses to “The Art of Distractions”

  1. I had the same problem of getting sucked into social media as I went around posting my writing onto various platforms and promoting myself. My only solution to the problem is to avoid social media saturation by will power. Not the easiest way to accomplish things, but better than giving in to the social media siren song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, that’s something I’ve been working at but I still find myself reaching for my phone to scroll through whichever app all the time. I think being conscious of it is a big part of the battle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe you could hide your phone somewhere out of sight, like in a drawer or under a couch cushion. The key is to not forget where you put it.
        I do most of my web surfing on a desktop, which is a lot harder to hide.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am saved by the fact that I am totally inept when it comes to my phone. I’m not even really sure how to find texts on it or whether they are the same thing as messages. And as for Whatsapp? I forget i have it and never check it. And, I have never figured out how to post from my phone. Perhaps it is better that I remain ignorant? Now the computer is another thing. I think I average at least 11 hours a day on it and probably more. But, the greatest amount of time is spent writing for my blog and dealing with photos, so it is creative time. I suppose I may spent two hours a day watching videos or playing spider solitaire or reading Facebook or emails. Time spent reading blogs I include on my blogging time. I will say that it is what I spend the most time doing, but may I never be caught at a table staring at my phone instead of talking to whatever friend I am with. Yesterday I took my friend Brad out for Mother’s Day.. Yeah, I know. Weird. But, there was an entire large table where I thought they were praying and it turns out every member of the family was looking at his or her phone held low in their laps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m better about putting my phone away when I’m with others but I have definitely seen whole tables of people looking at their phones and been that table. I find it’s more of a willpower thing for me. I just need to ignore it while working on other things, like blogging, writing, etc.


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