Overcoming the Distraction Habit
by Leo Babauta
One of the insidious things about the distraction habit is that we often don’t even realize it’s happening. It sneaks up on us, like old age, and before we know it we’re addicted and powerless.
But actually we’re not powerless. The power we have is our awareness, and you can develop it right now. Pay attention to what sites you visit, how often you’re looking at your phone, how long you’re spending in front of a screen all day.
What I did when I wanted to develop an awareness of my smoking urges was carry around a pencil and small scrap of paper, and put a tally mark on it each time I had the urge to smoke. I could still smoke, but I’d have to put a tally mark first.
This built my awareness muscle, and it allowed me to insert a small space between the urge and my subsequent action. Into that space, however small, I could eventually make a choice. That was where the power came in.
See what’s going on…
Once you’re aware of the distractions and urges, you can start to examine the causes.
Distractions are often about the fear of missing out. We can’t possibly take part in every cool thing that everyone else is doing, but we also don’t want to miss out on any of it. So we look online for what’s going on, what other people are doing and saying, what’s hot. None of that actually matters.
What matters is being content, doing things that make people’s lives better, learning, being compassionate, helping. So let’s let go of what we’re missing out on, and focus on the difference we want to make in the world.
Author: Leo Babauta
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