Distractions prove to be an issue with a lot of folks, me included. They cause a little blip in our path. They divert our attention from the goal. They sidetrack us and cause us to lose our focus.
Sometimes they are a well-needed diversion providing a respite during a difficult task. But all too often, distractions are just time-wasters that prevent us from accomplishment.
I’m usually a fairly focused person. Once I set my sights on a short-term goal, I stay the course until it’s finished. But those long-term aspirations? Not so much. I find I’m easily distracted by what some call oooh, a shiny!
We all succumb, I suppose, at one point or another, to those shiny things that call our attention away from the task at hand. Even Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Gabby Johnson admitted to losing her focus when she was quoted as saying, “It’s very tough for me to focus. I’m like: Look, something shiny! No, focus. Oh, there goes a butterfly!”
I started a long-term project a couple of years ago, and I’m sorry to confess that it is nowhere nearly completed. It’s actually gathering digital dust, so to speak, in a flash drive on my desk. Too many ‘shiny’ distractions have caused me to put that project on a shelf.
Why am I writing about distractions today? Because the past week’s photo challenge exhorts participants to capture something shiny which causes you to lose focus, something that attracts your attention.
So what constitutes a distraction for me?
The most usual and often one is my oldest grandchild. She diverts my attention in a good way though because I adore her and love spending time with her just about every day.
My youngest grandchild lives too far away to be a daily diversion, but still, when I’m with her or looking at videos and/or photos of her, she certainly monopolizes my attention too for all the same reasons; I adore her. Those two absolutely qualify as my “shinies.”
The negative oooh shiny is my iPad mini, and I’m a little ashamed to say that when it sits there with its cute, little flowery cover on my desk, it just begs me to open it up, tap on either a game called Trivia Crack or a jigsaw puzzle app, read an e-book on the Kindle app, and waste way too much time. Definitely sidetracks me.
But I have an oooh, shiny that occurs every day, an instance that causes me to divert my attention enough to stop whatever I’m doing immediately.
It’s my oooh, shiny distraction. Viewed right off our backyard deck every evening, it causes me to pause and take a few minutes to watch the sun slide softly into the horizon.
Sunset grabs my attention on a regular basis. It prompts me to scurry for my camera, step outside no matter what the weather is like, and start focusing with my eyes, my lens, and my complete concentration.
Then I store those images of my shiny things away on my computer and on rainy days, when the sunset is blurred or hidden behind storm clouds, I can click on those photos and gaze at their beauty once more.
Sometimes they even help me make connections to thoughts that become blog posts.
Ah, shiny things. I think we just need to stop and take a look at them, even if they are distracting, because you never know where they may lead.
“Writers are magpies by nature, always collecting shiny things, storing them away and looking for connections of things.” ~John Connolly