Learn to Spot Your Distraction Tactics and Transform them into Creative Gifts

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Every single one of us has personal distraction tactics; the little things we do intentionally take our attention away from the task or issue at hand. Harmless in intention, our go-to distraction tactics are just like personality traits – unique to every person. They also tell us more about ourselves than we think.


In life there’s a time to focus on work and a time to relax, take in our surroundings, review what comes next and how to approach it. The more we focus, or beat ourselves up for NOT focusing enough, we create a paradigm of always doing. In this dynamic, the mind has no choice but to distract us, offering a well-intentioned break from all the “doing”.


There are also times when we get ensnared in our own distraction tactics, finding it a challenge to move forward with any clarity or confidence. While we try to fight this tendency, and often get down on ourselves because of it, there may be a good reason it’s happening.


The Real Power Behind Distraction Tactics


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The mind sometimes operates on fear and past conditioning, pushing us into doing something that no longer serves us out of habit, or because change might be hard. So we distract ourselves. This keeps us on the edge of change without having to make a choice.


On the other hand, the heart may be using distraction to try and guide us towards a hidden passion or interest we aren’t making time for in a formal way.


Instead of getting caught up in judgment and frustration or pushing against the flow, it may be time to tune in and ask, “What are these distractions revealing at a deeper level?”


Tips for Spotting your Brand of Distraction and Connecting with its Deeper Meaning


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The power of distraction is not good or bad – it’s just information. It’s telling us something about our life, choices, or path, that’s not obvious to the conscious mind. It can also reveal insight about an emotional block or fear we are unable to fully embrace about ourselves.


On the flip side, distraction tactics can also be a simple way of the mind telling us to have more fun or loosen up!


So how can we view our distractions from an objective space, understand them, and then embrace their creative gifts?


Five questions to get you started on some self-inquiry into personal distraction behaviors: 


  • Notice when you get distracted most. What are you working on?
  • What time of day are you the most distracted? Does it happen consistently?
  • What are your go-to distraction tactics? Internet? TV? Daydreaming? Puttering around the house?Eating when you aren’t hungry?
  • Do you notice distraction tactics when they are “in play”? Or before bed when judging how the day transpired?
  • Do you find certain behaviors cycle through at specific times of the year?


Some suggestions on working with the energy of distraction…


Simply changing the physical approach to an idea or task, including the time of day we work on it, can make a big difference. It also helps to break things up into smaller chunks, spreading out the need to focus and take action.


Also try using some music to help focus attention during certain tasks, or meditate before you sit down to do things that are a bit challenging.


Creating more space in the day just to daydream, take a walk or sit and do nothing can also go a long way in making focused time more productive. It also leaves space to explore things slowly and from a more objective perspective.


One thing to keep in mind if distractions do not seem to have a specific root cause is to further explore our overall focus. Is our work and attention in alignment with our passions? Of course we all have to do things we don’t enjoy to reach our goals, but does our big picture destination still resonate in the mind body and spirit?


The spirit wanders and takes the mind when we are feeling unhappy or unfulfilled in a way we can pinpoint or define. This path of distraction is what fires up our creative spirit and inspires us to try new things, go on adventures and discover our creative potential. When what we expect as the “end game” for our life path is not fulfilling, we can become distracted, giving ourselves the unconscious permission to explore, grow and follow new ambitions.


Take Pleasure in the Power of Distraction and What it Offers


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There is power in distraction. It’s often hidden behind judgments of our own behavior. It can help to think of how our distraction tactics open us up for something deep and very essential to our humanness that we are not always able to give ourselves, according to Joshua Rothman of the New Yorker.


“It’s not just that we choose our own distractions; it’s that the pleasure we get from being distracted is the pleasure of taking action and being free. There’s a glee that comes from making choices, a contentment that settles after we’ve asserted our autonomy. Distraction is appealing precisely because it’s active and rebellious.”


The most important element of distractions is the unexpected benefits they offer. Much like the anticipation you feel when a magician “distracts” you from seeing the handiwork (so you can be suspended in a feeling of awe), our own unexpected paths offer the same gifts. Not only is there freedom from the expectations we create, but freedom from ourselves.


As we move through life, we become very strongly ingrained to identify with our choices. When we become distracted, the choice may seem like it’s out of our power, but at the same time, it’s uncomfortable to think about what being distracted really says about us.


Does it make us seem flaky? Ungrounded? Unclear and unprofessional? Does it make all of our previous choices “wrong”?


Or can distractions open us up to the things we can’t put into words because it’s all part of our creative journey?


This TEDx clip of Kathy Shalhoub takes you on a journey through her distractions, and how they helped her discover her true ambitions.


There is power in the art of distraction, if we can take the judgment out of how we see it and transform it into a creative gift.


What are some ways you can shift how you see or embrace your distraction tactics and see how they are revealing creative gifts?


Looking for some support to transform your distractions into insightful information? Connect with me for an intuitive reading. For previous blog posts on a similar topic, check out The Healing Power of Getting Clear on your Deepest Creative Truths and Intuitive Guidance is in the Little Creative Clues. For simple tips on how to tap into your inner wisdom more deeply, check out my podcast Flirting With Enlightenment.