Recently I’ve sensed a trend in my life which you may be able to relate to: I am distracted! More specifically I have found myself distracted by modern life. The ease at which I am able to communicate with others and the level of my availability has definitely played a part in the distraction of life. Checking Email (not just one but two or more accounts), voicemail, cell phones, texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc. all clamoring for attention.
I realize we all have responsibilities which require us to communicate using some of these methods, but do we need to be so available? The biggest cause of electronic distraction for me is Email. At times I have found myself unconsciously (or maybe obsessively) checking out my Email. This was really brought to my attention while getting away recently. I had a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my wife for four days and really unplug from the computer and cell phones and we all found it wonderfully refreshing. Imagine a week without checking Email but checking out a new book. Not texting but talking with each other. Instead of ‘social networking’ sitting and enjoying a meal or a day trip together.
So now that I’m back home I am evaluating my “availability quotient”. This is a term that describes how available a website is to its’ global audience. In the same manner I want to measure how available I am to my global audience. I want to set good boundaries around my attention so I don’t get distracted easily by Email, texting or Facebook. I also want to be conscious that when I do check one of these out, it is intentional and not based on a compulsion just to feel connected or busy.
So what about you, can you identify with this? I’ve talked to a couple of other men and they’ve all said, ‘Yep, sounds like my life!’
“Be still and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” — Psalm 23:2
Points to Ponder:
So what are some ways to be in the 21st Century but not of it?
– As with most evaluation, awareness comes first. So catch yourself each time you perform an electronic communication and determine if it was necessary or just an impulse. When you reach for your smart phone, make it intentional, and be aware when you feel driven to do so.
– Ask your spouse, children or trusted friend if they would say you have a good handle on being present or if you tend to be distracted. If you have a teen who has a phone and computer you know what I mean. They can be in the same room as you but having conversations with multiple friends via texting and social media.
– Consider not using any electronic communications for an hour or two (or maybe even a whole day).
Speaking of relationships, one of the major casualties of distraction can be our relationship with God. That will be the focus of the next Ezine but for now ponder this question, “Am I hearing God’s voice over all the busyness and distraction of my life?” Remember, you are not a human doing but a human being.
I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment. What is your experience with distraction and how are you handling it? Perhaps you’ve had some success in eliminating distraction. If so, please share what has worked so others can benefit.