Cutting Out Distractions, Enjoying Simple Things

Tonight I realized something. I can no longer sit still and concentrate on one thing. No, I am not talking about multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is a very important skill that is necessary for most people to master but I am not talking about that. Rather, I am talking about just having the focus and patience to sit down and just do one thing. Let me explain…

This evening I sat down to watch the Notre Dame vs. Michigan football game. Watching football has always been one of life’s greatest pleasures for me but tonight I started to notice something. I couldn’t go two minutes without taking my eyes off the screen to do something. I would check my phone constantly, grab for my water bottle, type something into my lap top that I had right next to me, adjust my position on the couch, or have my mind go off in totally non-football directions.

Why was I doing this? I had been looking forward to just relaxing and watching this game all day long but when the time came to do it I caught myself not giving me the opportunity to do so. One thing is for sure, I am glad I actually called myself out on it. I have had a mild case of ADD for quite some time now but I just really had not realized it. To be honest, I don’t exactly know why I took notice of it tonight, but I think that the time I have spent by myself lately has gotten me more in touch with my idiosyncrasies.

After I officially diagnosed my personal focus disorder and after I got on myself for acting so distracted I established a couple of ground rules. I made it mandatory that I would watch a whole series of the football game without doing anything but watching the football game. No phone, no computer, no drink, no adjusting. After the series ended and the game went to commercial I checked my phone, took a big drink of my water, pounded on my computer, and did whatever else I felt like I needed to do. I quickly learned two things. First, the game was much more enjoyable to watch and I found myself thoroughly entertained throughout the three quarters I instituted my plan for (now if only Notre Dame had won). Secondly, doing all the things (phone/computer/drink/etc) on a set schedule made them much more gratifying than just doing them on call every other second.

I think I have trouble getting the most out of my free time just because I am so used to not having any. Instead of switching modes when I am out of the office I instead take those same principles that I use at work and go 100% to get the most done…even if it just entails small, minor things like checking my phone or seeing how Monte is doing in the Mascot Challenge. I need to remember to change gears and realize that work time is different from play time. I am not trying to maximize productivity, I am trying to maximize enjoyment.

I plan to continue to allow myself to enjoy my free time more. Time to focus more and soak in the moments of leisure that I get. I am glad I figured this out now because the football season is very young. Don’t Blink.

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