Life Day By Day,  Life Wise Hints

Are distractions good for us?

You would have heard about the child in the classroom, the one who is distracting others. He is a popular boy with his parents, but not the teacher. But distracted children are not a problem. They are on a learning journey. They are working out how to relate to others and the world around them. So be easy on them.

There are distractions and distractions. Some are healthy and others are unhealthy. There are distractions that we invite into our lives that can help us. Then there are distractions that get us off track. They take us away from what we should or could be doing.

I can focus and not deviate from a task. But I am also capable of distraction. For me one of the times I get distracted is after I put on a load of washing. It does not have my interest. I leave it and plan to go back later. But then I get distracted. I can have a load of washing sitting in the washing machine for half a day. The time to peg it out on the line passed a long time ago.

Yet distraction is not altogether a bad thing. But there must be an answer to prevent unhealthy  distractions. I have found it is all in my hands. My timer. I have to set the timer for the period of the washing cycle. If I do this, all is well. The washing gets hung out on time.

Our time is in our hands.
Photo by Castorly Stock on

I am a big fan of timers. They have so many uses. My timer is my companion in the kitchen. Others can cook and keep an eye on things. But not me, I get distracted. If I am cooking eye fillet steak it is cooked to perfection via the timer. The timer goes on, goes off, the steak is flipped, timer on. Time up. Rest and eat. The timer is such an easy way to manage distractions.

I find that distractions come into their own when I am feeling down. It might not be for a specific reason. What do you do when you are feeling down in the dumps? If you have not tried it, find a healthy distraction. These types of distractions have an important part to play in our lives when things are not going as well as we would like.

To feel better in a ‘down in the dumps’ day it is as simple as finding a distraction. But no opening the fridge door or the chocolate box. We need an activity that will distract us and give us satisfaction.

If you are having a ‘down in the dumps’ day, ask yourself a question. What do you like to do? What task or activity will give you a lift? Is gardening your happy place? If so, it is time to get out in the garden. No need to plan too much. Put on some gloves, gather a few garden tools, and get outside. The garden is a great distraction. If you do not have a garden, then go shopping for a few pots and plant cherry tomatoes or flowers. That will keep you busy for a few hours. It will also take your mind off what was causing your unhappiness.

What other activities give us satisfaction? What about taking a look in your wardrobe? Sort out the clothes you never wear and place them into a box for recycling. Put on some of your favourite music. Music enhances our mood. Turn up the volume. It is best with headphones if you share a house. Before long you are looking at a tidy and ordered wardrobe. A glow of satisfaction takes over. Also, there are clothes to gift to others. All because you got distracted when feeling down.

One area that can cause distraction is study. Not all of them are unhealthy. But is not a time for distractions. We know we must study. The exam is in two days’ time. But there are so any other more interesting things to do, even the washing! This is the time the dishes get done. Or you sort out your vinyls collection. Now they are all in alphabetical order. All your social media posts are up to date. This is when the ‘phone a friend’ option will not help. It causes more delay. Another distraction.

Studying is not a time for distraction. This is where the timer comes into its own. It goes on for 30 minutes. We become dedicated to the task. The timer goes on for another 30 minutes. Before long 90 minutes of study has happened.

How we manage our distractions is key to how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Distraction can be healthy and unhealthy. The healthy ones are when the distraction is conscious. We know what we are doing. We make the decision. We control the moment. The unhealthy ones are those that take us away from planned tasks and activities. They are unplanned but take up our valuable time.

This year I am going to slip a digital timer into some of my Christmas presents. It’s time I shared my distraction success with others! Try it and see if it works for you.

P.S. I got distracted this morning by Bert Newton’s State funeral. This can easily happen when you are CEO of your own time and at my time of life. Requiescat in pace (R.I.P) Bert Newton.

Featured image: photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on

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