I’ve talked about it before: I struggle with an addiction to the internet, computer, technology, screens … I’m addicted to distractions, essentially. Things that pull me away from what’s healthy, things that pull me away from my vision, things that pull me away from my heart.
And part of that addiction, I’ve realized, is feeling this need to stay connected to whatever is currently before me.
For example: When I’m watching Youtube videos (of West Coast Swing, mindset, motivation, or other specific topics I’m trying to understand), it’s very hard for me to just walk away and work on something else.
I have this habitual ‘need’ to just “finish this video.” Which is not inherently bad: I wouldn’t want to just walk away in the middle, come back later and have to restart or figure out what the people in the video were doing or talking about.
And a part of the problem is being physically tethered to my computer. In this particular situation, I’m often wearing a headset for one or two reasons: the audio quality is so much better than listening through my standard computer speakers (or worse, laptop speakers) (or) it’s late and I don’t want to wake up people in my house.
The problem then is that when I feel a sudden inclination that I should go do something else, I feel almost obligated to stay at my desk “because my headset can’t reach the other side of the room.”
A simple solution is then to just take the headset off and go do it. But it almost never works like that. Putting on my headset is a way of getting in the zone, getting immersed in what I’m doing. Taking it off (or hitting pause on a video, or turning off my computer, or putting my phone away) requires a distinct decision that “I am done with this and I’m going to focus on something else.” Which is hard for someone who’s addicted to technology, media … distractions.
Which makes that “simple solution” not so easy. Simple, but not easy. Yet it’s still an important solution to embrace.
Untethering myself from my distraction, my addiction, although not easy is simple and important.
Take off the headset. Close the browser. Turn off the computer. Turn off the phone. Empty my desk. Put all the “junk” in one place.
And look at and focus on what I really want to be doing.
Open only ONE tab. Pull out only ONE page to write. Focus on ONE thing right now.
For as long as I’m tethered to my distraction… for as long as I’m in the zone (of my distraction)… it’s hard to see all of the OTHER things that are MORE EXCITING and MORE MEANINGFUL … because I’m flipping from one video to the next. “Just one more video” is often a lie. It’s too easy to “multi-task” ineffectively. It’s too easy to get caught up in the notifications of Facebook. Too easy to bounce from “I should do this” to “I should do that” to “that sounds like a good idea, let’s work on that” every single minute.
Untethering stops all of the inbound “ideas” and instead gets you to listen to your own thoughts, your own intuitions, and pay attention to your own “ideas.”
What should I do next? What’s most important to work on? What’s exciting right now?
Those answers don’t come from being tethered to something else: they come from being untethered and tethering to your own heart instead.
Lately, I’ve found a lot of incredible momentum and motivation through untethering from my “normal” things, like those mentioned above. It’s weird to listen to myself, to enjoy the silence. I’m constantly looking for that “void” to be filled. But as long as I embrace the courage of untethering from all of the media, noises, distractions, input from outside of myself…
… The more I learn to listen to myself and trust what my heart has to say.
But I can’t listen to the heart’s inclinations by having a million pixels blasting into my eyes, others’ words blaring into my ears, and outside suggestions overwhelming my mind.