We aren’t stuck with our factory settings.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Mika Baumeister
What are your favorite digital distractions?
How much time do you spend on your computer, TV, or cell phone?
To what degree do you accept the factory settings installed on your devices? In what ways have you taken the time to customize the settings to your preferences?
Looking beyond technology, where else might there be “factory settings” within your world?
Consider all the programing installed without your knowledge throughout your personal world, including family dynamics and your schooling.
What about your work life including its culture, organizational rules and guidelines—not to mention the good old job description?
In what ways can you take a closer look at the factory settings established in your personal and professional communities?
What adjustments can you make to help you lead a more colorful and vibrant life?
“Distractions! Let them come. Let them be. Let them go.”
—Culadasa, former director of the Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha
Image from Unsplash by Nubelson Fernandes
How many people and things are competing for your attention each day?
How many are welcome, and how many divert you from your desired paths?
Where and how do you have control — or at least significant influence — on what enters your direct and peripheral attention?
Imagine you were a healthcare professional in an emergency department, caring for people who showed up at the door. How would you triage individuals with critical needs versus those with only minor difficulties?
In each case, determining who gets immediate care and admitted to the hospital and who gets sent home is what’s important.
How do you triage the distractions that enter your world?
How would your own mental and physical health benefit from a more clearly defined method to do this?
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is easy to miss.”
—Boris Pasternak, 20th Century Russian poet & novelist
Image from Unsplash by Rodion Kutsaev
I recently learned that our average level of digital engagement nearly tripled between 2007 to 2017.
Surprisingly, other aspects of our daily activities, such as sleeping, working, and commuting, have remained fairly stable.
We can all point to many positive aspects of our digital world, including increasing productivity, however more of us are now paying the price for this lack of digital well-being.
Mark Ostach, a Digital Well-Being Coach, suggests the following actions we can take to capture more of the “knocks on our doors” we may be missing:
- No digital gadgets at mealtime.
- Sleep device-free. Get a real alarm clock.
- Take a digital fast at least one hour each day.
- Make eye contact when talking.
- End your digital day one hour before bedtime.
- Go outside and get some fresh air.
“Starve Your Distractions. Feed Your Focus.”
You are what you eat.
In terms of today’s quote, I am not referring to kale, flax seeds, or salmon.
We are becoming an increasingly ADHD society, in which the “shiny object syndrome” is more prevalent than ever. Take a few moments right now for a careful look at the many things that seek your attention.
The payoff with the wide variety of distractions seems to be some form of pleasure, instant gratification, or an escape from life’s difficulties. Sometimes it’s for twenty seconds for a social media fix, or thirty minutes for a sitcom.
The cost for all of us is the lack or diminishment of our fullest potential on both the personal and professional fronts. Because everyone seems to be engaged in these activities, and we all want to fit in, we unfortunately accept this “dumbing down” of our focus as “normal.”
Consider using the More, Less, Start, Stop strategy today, to feed your focus and starve your distractions.
For those who wish to make this a habit, engage the support of others for at least the next month, so the benefits you desire will become sticky and sustainable.
“Unless you plan on eating it, please don’t bring your phone to our dinner table.”
Digital distraction is at epidemic levels. It is so out of hand that we now hear of multiple people committing suicide because they are unable to get their “digital fix.”
How and in what ways can and will you draw the line and establish boundaries that cannot be crossed, to prevent this heads-down world from infecting your life and the lives of those you love?
Please consider the dinner table as a place to begin and then expand further to regain the peace and sanity you seek.
“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
-Will Rogers, 19th/20th Century American Cowboy, Vaudevillian, and Humorist
Image from denvertent.com
Imagine you are planning to take a hike, climb a hill, or even scale a mountain. Your goal is to go as far as you can and see all the beauty along the way. Unfortunately, you have chosen to carry a very heavy backpack filled with too many weighty issues from your past.
What can you do to lighten your load and carry fewer yesterdays, in order to make the best out of each and every day ahead?
“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.”
-John Burroughs, American naturalist and nature essayist
In the early years of coaching there was a man named Thomas J. Leonard, whom many consider a primary catalyst for the profession we know today.
Among his prolific writings, as he developed the curriculum for Coach University, was a simple exercise to improve one’s life by reducing or eliminating the small things that often drain our energy and satisfaction. He called these little things that sap our lives, “tolerations.”
Generate a list of little and not so little things in your world that diminish your life in even the smallest ways.
How can you reduce, eliminate, or, as John Burroughs suggests, rise above these things, to live a more fulfilling life?
Select at least one “toleration” and take some action today, and consider making this exercise an everyday practice to improve your life.
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save. They just stand there, shining.”
– Anne Lamott, novelist and non-fiction writer
St. Joseph, Michigan North Pier Lighthouse
As a coach, my business is a bit unusual in that I now hold most of my coaching sessions via video conference. Instead of running all over town to meet with each client, I created a secure harbor in a calm and confidential location, removed from the often hectic rushing around that comprises many people’s days.
Where are you currently running all over your personal and professional “island” looking for boats to save?
How could you let your own shining light act as a beacon to bring greater sanity, security and success into your world?