Are you easily distracted? If so, your distraction may be a shadow of something else. A gift.
If you’re prone to distraction, you may also be harboring something very powerful; an energetic creative spirit. It has many interests and when those interests are near—even if just in thought—it becomes aroused. Distractibility is how your creative spirit expresses its restlessness.
When it does, instead of decrying distractibility as a curse, call it what it is. The child within you is acting up, screeching uncontrollably in quiet places; just as one might make a ruckus in a library, or during a church service, or at the dinner table. These places have an expected decorum. And so does your workplace.
Distractibility, when it acts up, wrecks havoc on your work, pooh-poohing any notions of productivity. Like a uncontrollable child, it’s tantrums are no respecter of decorum. It disrespects your work—drawing you away from the thing you were meant to create.
Worse, distractibility can itself distract you from noticing your gift. It fixes your attention elsewhere by its boisterous and seemingly uncontrollable behavior. You forget your gift and think only of the problem child within. You joke about having ADD or its high-def cousin, ADHD. But it’s all a ruse.
You’re more than your shadow. You’ve been given a powerful gift. When distraction rises up to thwart you from using it, remember who’s in control. Take charge. Use the same tool that a parent might when their child acts disrespectfully—a time out.
In my ebook 10 Strategies to Get More Done, I discuss how 20-minute Focus Blocks can calm that distractible child within us. Focus Blocks are intentionally designed sprints of concentration in a setting free of digital or human interruption. Think of it as a time-out for your inner child. Try it the next time your distractibility starts to make a stink. You might find, as I have, that a time-out is just what you need to calm that pesky little monster within.
What are some of the ways you’ve overcome distractions?
I have ADD. And it took me a long time to realize when harnessed, ADD, is a gift and powerful tool. It allows me to focus intently on a problem or project. Along with the creativity you discussed, I have built a successful business.
When I talk with parents of ADD and ADHD kids, I tell them this and hoe to help their child harness this gift.
That’s awesome Andy. There are so many adults and kids alike who need the encouragement of your testimony. Thanks for sharing it!