I don’t consider myself an easily distractible person. Noises near me and flashes of light the pass by aren’t normally enough to pull me away from whatever it is I’m doing. But lately I’ve noticed a worrying trend with myself. I’ll be working at my laptop, finish up a sentence or the paragraph I was typing and immediately click off of my document to scroll through social media for a bit. Why do I find myself doing that so frequently? Do I think of it as a reward for finishing a sentence? Often times there’s not even anything worth looking at on my timelines but I scroll nonetheless. Why does this distraction have such a hold over my life and more importantly, how can I get rid of it?
In the article, Remedies For A Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen writes,
“A major problem in completing critical assignments, especially on a A major problem in completing critical assignments, especially on a computer, is the constant availability of that most sought-after commodity: information. Here are some suggestions to help you reduce the accessibility. Begin by setting up your work environment to avoid being distracted and interrupted. This is the most difficult and challenging part of the process. Limit yourself to a single screen. Yes, multiple screens are nice for spreading out your work, but they create distractions.”
Guilty as charged. I never realized how many screens I had open until I read that sentence and…. Yikes. Not only did my Internet browser have fourteen (14!!) tabs open, I also had my text message window open, a discord server up, and Photoshop and premiere pro were also running in the background.
As I’m writing this blog post I have closed everything that does not include this word document I’m typing on and the two tabs on my browser that have my source for the quote above and WordPress, where I will post this blog when I finish typing it. I feel…. Naked. Is it weird to feel naked? Because I feel very naked. I’m having flash backs to when I went without social media for a week and missed that Cardi B got arrested, I can’t risk that again you guys the stakes are too high.
I might be slightly dramatic but the point still stands, being free from those fourteen tabs is something weird and different. I don’t think I miss them and in all honesty these words are flowing out easier than they normally do. But, I’m just not sure that I can keep this up without getting bored after a while. Luckily for me Gazzaley and Rosen have some tips for that too, my favorite being to take a nap. Yes you read that right, they literally say that,
“Short ten-minute naps have been shown to improve cognitive function. Longer naps work, too, as seen in a study of pilots who improved their reaction time after taking a thirty-minute nap.”
If it works for pilots it works for me. This is not including my accidental hitting the snooze button and taking a three hour nap of course. In all honestly I’m not sure where else to take this blog post so, following the advice above, I’m going to take an honest to God ten minute nap and hopefully wake up in the paragraph below and let you know if I have any new ideas.
Okay, it’s ten minutes later and here I am, and I hate to admit it but these guys really seem to know what they’re talking about. I feel rested! I also feel organized if that makes sense? I know what I want the rest of my day to look like and I feel like I can get done what I need to get done. This could be due to a lot of reasons, Gazzaley and Rosen also state that shifting your focus away from your screen helps brain flow, which can also be achieved through napping. Thinking about how my writing was flowing pre nap seems to be child’s play compared to how clear my mind is now. I think a combination of the ten-minuet nap and closing all my browser screens has really left an impact on me.
I would have felt guilty before if I had taken a ten minuet nap in the middle of writing a blog post, but now, feeling as good as I do, I don’t think I will ever feel guilty again. Stressing yourself out is no way to get any work done, illuminating that stress is key, whether that comes in the form of a short nap or closing tabs the results will speak for themselves.