“Quotes in Action” – Day 26

"In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention." ~ Pico Iyer

One word that is getting a lot of attention these days is “distracted.” Whether we are responding to alerts on our phone, checking social media, flipping on the TV, or scrolling through a newsfeed, most of us struggle with staying focused. That’s why I selected today’s quote, which says, “In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.” Pico Iyer

In the digital age, most of us have become accustomed to juggling multiple activities at once. In some cases, this works out well, such as when we are doing a “mindless task” (e.g., folding laundry) while pursuing a mental activity (e.g., listening to a podcast). However, when we pursue multiple mental tasks at once, we actually stop thinking about one task to think about another. If you’ve ever been behind a car whose driver is looking at his/her phone, you know this is true! Although we may not realize it, we are likely missing some aspects of each endeavor, and we are exhausting our brains in the process.

Today I challenge you to resist the temptation to multi-task. Allow yourself the opportunity to do just one thing at a time. I know this isn’t always easy. Children need us, coworkers text us, the phone rings, etc. But these are interruptions, not distractions. As far as it is within your control, make the effort to give your full attention to only one thing at a time. Admittedly, if this isn’t your normal approach, it may feel awkward. You may feel the need to reach for your phone after only a few minutes. If you struggle to stay focused, you can set a timer and use something like the Pomodoro technique. Another option is to put yourself in a physical situation that will make distractions less accessible. For instance, I’m sitting on an airplane as I write this. Since there isn’t much else to do, it’s easy to stay focused on writing.

We all have limits for how long we can maintain concentration. Still, we most likely can improve our ability to focus by mindfully seeking to flex this muscle.

Are you easily distractable? How long do you think you can focus on only one thing?

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6 thoughts on ““Quotes in Action” – Day 26”

    1. That is so true, Diane! I definitely make more mistakes when I’m juggling multiple tasks, particularly “brain” tasks. Why not just focus and do it well, right?

    1. To some extent, parents are always multi-tasking. However, we can try and focus on one thing at a time when we have the opportunity, and remind ourselves how good it feels and how efficient it can make us!

  1. I’m actually not that great at multi-tasking unless it’s something benign like cooking and watching the news, but you definitely called me out on the phone checking! That’s something I need to work on. When I pick up B from school I see all the other parents looking down at their phones so I’m trying hard each day to be the one who’s looking up and out the window at the pretty grounds.
    Sarah Soboleski recently posted…GO Month: Mental Clutter – XMy Profile

    1. It’s so interesting that you mention that about the parents at pick up. I’ve become increasingly aware of how often children are talking to adults who are looking at their phones. This is a tough one. I applaud your choice to try and be fully present at pick up. There is a lot of beauty to see in the world around us. I always used to turn my face to the sun – no surprise, right?

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