Where Does the Day Go?

To say that I am easily distracted is an understatement. In fact, I’ve found recently that it’s getting worse. I have reason to believe that my current difficulties with focus go hand in hand with my lack of motivation overall, but more on that later. Clearly though, I’m not the only one suffering from a strong case of “hey-look-at-that-button/ad/penny/iphone game/key/etc” syndrome – this seems to be a number-one complaint for many, but usually this easy distraction also gets in the way of solving the problem. The great, unfortunate cycle.

I’m aware of my focus troubles – they’ve followed me around since my youth. And it’s never really held me back much, but now I feel that my potential is being severely limited by the fact that my mind wanders down these bizarre train of thoughts, where one word from the thought earlier leads to a new thought, and down the chain we go. For example, about 10 minutes ago, I switched the song on my itunes to “Don’t Come Around Here No More” by Tom Petty. This immediately triggered a memory of the concert last year where my buddy Ryan was hit on by this girl, so we told her he was engaged. Stef’s engaged now, wedding in August. Gotta remember to book the time off, and while I’m at it I should book off for an extra day on the Canada Day long weekend so that we can go to Point Roberts, we eat like kings down there. Last year we had slow cooked ribs in a home made bbq sauce…..

See what I’m saying here? it doesn’t take much. I got from Tom Petty to home made BBQ sauce in one thought train.

So what do I do about it? 

Well, http://www.betterlife-seeker.com has a whole “how to” article they posted in June 2008 called “How To Improve Concentration: Mental Exercises to Improve Your Focus.” This seems like a great place to start. They have broken it into 3 tasks.

  1. The first is to just focus on one object for 5-10 minutes a day, and to chase all distractions from your mind as you do it. Apparently it gets easier the more you do it…We shall see.
  2. They suggest setting aside 5-10 minutes a day to “quiet your mind” and clear it of all the random thoughts that shoot through your mind.
  3. Last, they say to visualize the end goal of any task. Visualization can act as an effective practice session that helps you master anything. In this case, I suppose, I should visualize being a more focused individual as a whole, but bring that down to each task, imagine the roadblocks and anticipate how to break through them.

Further, I’m going to start small. Each day, at the office, I will try to complete each task through completion (as much as possible), while not succumbing to distraction. I will use the time between tasks to indulge my distractions. As the month progresses, I will try to indulge those distractions less and less – in week 2, I will try to do 2-3 consecutive tasks without indulging distraction. Week 3, I will attempt 5-8 tasks before giving in to distraction. For me, Week 1 will be difficult enough. Starts tomorrow morning.


Last night was insanity, tonight will be a 30 minute jog after the hockey game…We will see how it goes.


Music has been the one area of my life, always, where I don’t get distracted. Playing or listening to music, when I want to, can hold my complete attention for hours. As music is always playing in the background at my desk through the day, I can, for the most part, tune it out and work. Sometimes, though, a song comes on that I cannot ignore – a song that commands my attention for it’s full duration. When I’m working, this can occasionally instill a type of guilt in me – I know I should be working, but this song requires my attention. So, today, A song that makes me feel guilty. While there are a few that could qualify in this category, I must pick only one, and I will.

Let Wander Your Restless Hearts – Attack In Black

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