What are your top 5 distractions? What keeps you from doing what you need to be doing? What steals your time, energy, thoughts, and most productive hours from you?

Will and I recently visited with his grandparents, whom I have affectionally adopted as my very own since all my g-parents are dancing in heaven. I adore them. They are in their 80’s, they love one another, and they live such a simple life. While we were in their sweet home (that they have owned for somewhere around 40-50 years, by the way), I purposefully left my iPhone in the other room. I feel that it’s rude to pick up your iPhone and look at it every 30 seconds when you are trying to truly spend time with them. Unfortunately, I find myself doing that out of habit anyway, even when I don’t want to.

Anyway, we sat at their kitchen table, talking, for over 3 hours. Pure conversation!  I began to miss my iPhone and my “connectedness” to the outside world. Shameful, I know. And then I got to thinking… what was it like for them?  The only “computer” they had access to growing up was a calculator. The only phone they had access to what their home phone. The way they stayed connected was through dinner parties, occasional phone calls, and written letters. They lived such rich lives.

Then I began to think about how our current tech-savvy culture has really cheapened our lives. We sacrifice real relationships for “online communities.”   Sure, it’s convenient. Sure, we can keep in touch with a bajillion people who we don’t really care about. Sure, I can answer emails on the fly and post photos of my life instantly. But am I taking time to do the things that matter?

Really, Nancy. Are you?

I said this statement at Making Things Happen NC, and I’m thankful to know that it has resonated not only in my spirit, but also in the hearts and minds of others.

“I want more face-to-face, less screen-to-screen.” 

I’m ready for that. I want it. I crave it. But how do I get to that point?  You have to name your distractions. Those things, those apps, those habits that distract you from focused intensity. From work. From people who matter. We did this exercise in Making Things Happen, and it really opened my eyes to see the Top 5 things that distract me the most.


Nancy’s Top 5 Distractions:

1. My iPhone

2. Emails (I’m an insta-checker!)

3. Social Media (Instagram, FB & Twitter)

4. Pinterest

5. The need to organize / clean before I can work


Once I identified the things that eat my time, that slow me down – it has been much easier for me to say NO to them more often. I happily leave my iPhone in another room while I focus on a project, or while we eat dinner. I only allow myself to check Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter twice a day. And, well, I’m OCD when it comes to organization, so I still have to organize :]. However, I do it once in the morning and once at night, rather than creating more projects for myself throughout the day.

Even still, I’m ready to take this to the next level. I want more from this life than an iPhone life. I want to read books, to take walks, to spend face-to-face time with people I love. I want to work, and work hard. I want to work effectively. I want to hustle when I’m supposed to, and really rest when I’m not hustling.

With that said, I am stepping it up. For the next 2 weeks, I’m putting myself through distraction bootcamp in order to achieve some balance. I am going to…

– Take emails off of my phone, and only check emails twice a day.
– Only allow myself to really look at Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram twice a day. I will have a dedicated time to do this, and once my alarm goes off, I will STOP looking at them! (I will allow myself to post to these medias more than twice a day, but very limited amounts, using Buffer.)
– Purchase a traditional alarm clock, so that I do not have to wake up looking at my phone. That way, I can break my snoozing habit, and I can also wake up without work being the first thing on my mind due to instant emails.
– Read more.
– Plan a dinner party!

What are your top distractions, and what are you doing to keep them from stealing your precious time from you?

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ah I love your site!! I love your love for the Lord and love your sweet smile!! okay my biggest distractions are other photographers/creatives blogs ha ha… better get back to my blogging :)

Also I WISH organizing was an issue for me lol, I avoid organizing as much as I do cleaning dishes. This might be a good trait. :)

I’m thinking of how I can turn off my internet so I’m forced to work when I’m editing… humm I may need to get my husband on that.

I’m also thinking about making my blog post (since I got a new site/blog) about what really matters, and start to use daily bible verses with my images or post. Hummm

Thanks for the ideas and eye opening post!!!!

Nance-I love this! What a challenge to {hopefully} all who read. xo

Ugh! The need to organize/clean is the funny distraction on this list that plagues me. I will do ANYTHING, even a couple dishes, start a new load of laundry, you name it -before I mentally try to work. Sometimes I do it to make me feel like I am getting a lot of things accomplished. And sometimes it’s just to procrastinate doing what I don’t want to do.

WOW. I simply can’t believe how much this post spoke to me. My husband and I had an hour long conversation this evening about this same subject. HOW crazy is it that I decided to check out your blog tonight and this post be here? You took the thoughts right out of my head and wrote them perfectly, Nancy. I am the same way! Ahhh! I’m trying to edit a wedding right now and what am I doing? Reading blogs :) Haha. This just sums up what I need to start doing in my life as well. You’re a doll Nancy! Thank you! Enjoy your weekend! :) Xo.

Nancy, I couldn’t agree with you more! My top distractions have been Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Email and Blogging! I miss simpler times when technology wasn’t there to distract and rob people of experiences. And when keeping up in the internet business world wasn’t a concern. I have spent way more time than I ever should with these things.

To keep these distractions from stealing time from me, I am returning to the things that matter most (my family, friends, creating moments, study and building a brand) and committing to being in the moment with the people around me (no checking my phone!) I want to live life not just write and read about it, and I’m set on doing just that :)

Great post!

1) Facebook

2) Twitter

3) Email

4) Mindless internet nonsense

About to go nuclear on these things if they don’t leave me alone, lol. Great post, wife.

Yay dinner parties! They can be a lot of work, but I think they’re always worth it :)

Nancy, This is awesome!! After reading what distracts you, I have decided to come up with a list of my own. My besties and I all agreed that we would have more face to face time this year. We have been really good about it and I think it has made us closer. I I have also learned from the folks at my dad’s assisted living comunity the joys of just “being” instead of “doing.” Just sitting on the porch with them is a lot more fun that I ever thought it would be.

Blogs – can I not list that one, while I reply to this??? :)

I did MTH 2012 and came away with a couple of things.

1. Especially when I swim in the AM, checking my phone was the first thing I did. Now I chuck it to one side (gently!) and don’t bother looking at it until I get back and am eating breakfast.

2. No more FB after 8pm and when I am home, I usually only check it once between work and going to bed now.

3. Unfortunately, at the moment Skype is the only way I can connect with my family, but I am now more mindful of disconnecting from everything else and focusing on speaking with them and not trying to glance at the TV or finish off an email.

4. I took Solitaire off my phone and do the crossword/sudoku on my subway commute.

I’m not on Twitter (but feel like I should be!), but Instagram I only really started getting into a couple of months ago, so thanks for the reminder! :)

I have my apps in order on my iphone…..facebook, email, mvelopes, ….. I have said this constantly that while it is fabulous to reconnect with people instantly and especially those far away, it is imperative that we connect face to face with those close by. For example, this morning, I wanted to read some of my Relentless Book, then go for a 20 minute walk, but got distracted by AT&T and Absa Banking (South African account)….so no reading and no walking…..so sad!

Couldn’t agree more, Mrs. Ray! I’ve had to make dramatic changes to my day-to-day to never pass up the chance to connect with someone. Given the Light you have inside you, I think Pops would be proud if we focused more on really sharing that Light with whoever we can. Preach on, Homegirl!

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