One is stressful, the other is numbing. The latter type of distraction serves to numb you to the pain of the former. The best example of a numbing distraction is TV. You turn it on and it effectively distracts you (numbs) from all your concerns in the world. It turns your mind off. Other good examples are alcohol or sex.
Did I mention that I do watch some TV? 😉
I hadn’t thought of the first type until the other morning when my real estate agent made a request of me that required me to focus on something that I hadn’t budgeted any time for. This was something clearly important and needed to be dealt with.
It’s just that I hadn’t planned for it.
So this distracted me from what I had planned to focus on that morning and it served to pull me away (distracted me) from my intention for the day.
The fact that these distractions deal with things that are important to my life and that they yell for immediate action creates stress. The fact that they pull me away from other important, and maybe also urgent things, creates more stress.
So here we create stress on two fronts: falling behind on something that is planned and important, and the immediate distress of something that is suddenly urgent. On reflecting on my days, I observe stressful distractions often. Too often.
I know that stressful distractions will always occur. They are part of life, of being human. However my goal is to minimize their occurrence in my life, and this is a function of a vigorous practice of planning. A good practice of planning anticipates breakdowns so that they can either be prevented or prepared for in advance. (Thanks to the Aji Network for getting me to take on “planning” as a practice.)
Do you notice a lot of stressful distractions in your day? A cue perhaps that you don’t have any rigorous practice of planning?