Distraction Disorder

Moving around and between different places a great deal sounds exciting but brings with it a lot of confusion and noise. In addition, no matter where I am, I have things I am responsible for that do not go away. I also have friends and relationships that I love and that need nurturing and a deep desire to cultivate my creative side. The question is one of budgeting and management. How and where must I invest my time? Where can I add the most value to what matters most to me and the people who care about me?
I have been blessed in my life to be partnered with a very wise husband. He has the gift of discernment and strength. It’s a gift that I have come to rely on. He sees things and understands the world in a way that is foreign to the way I was created but is essential to my health and survival. For a while now he has been talking about the fact that in this age of technology the commodity people are most short of is attention. He has said that having focus and attention is going to be the one thing that sets us apart. It’s taken me a while (ok at least a year or two) to really understand what that means for me and why its so important.
On my Face Book Page I have posted TED talks about harnessing technology and not allowing it to rule our lives, but I have been slow in following these recommendations. Recently I read a Blog posting by Ann Voskamp in which she quotes David Murray ‘s summary of the book ‘Digital Leader’. It struck a chord. This is why it matters.
This is why I need to master technology and not allow it to master me:
“A study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment by 10 points. This decrease is the equivalent of the effects from not sleeping for 36 hours—and exhibits more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana”.
“In a study of 1,000 of its employees, Basex, an information-technology research firm, found striking data showcasing inefficiency. It was determined that 2.1 hours per day is lost to interruptions. This figure indicates over 26 percent of the average workday is wasted due to multitasking and unwanted interruptions”.
Jordan Grafman, chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, explains, ‘There’s substantial literature on how the brain handles multitasking. And basically, it doesn’t …what’s really going on is a rapid toggling among tasks rather than simultaneous processing’”.

“Almost everyone has too much to handle in this complex, digital age. The average person receives 41.5 texts per day and sends/receives 141 email messages per day.”

I have justified my distraction with technology by the fact that it has allowed me to stay in touch. In the last eight years it has changed so dramatically that the experience of being connected with my first child when they went off to boarding school is very different to the experience of my baby starting boarding school last year. It has become easier and even more interactive. I have come to depend on it. I need my BlackBerry attached to me and want to be able check it every few minutes. It’s like an insatiable itch!

I am, however, coming to realize that if I want to move ahead with the plans God has for me I am going to have to stop technology ruling my life. I need to be free. I want time free of distractions to be creative. I desire to learn the discipline of allotting my time, simplifying my life, regaining focus for what is important and perhaps if I get brave enough I will even institute a technology Sabbath.