What Are Your Distractions?

Lately, I’ve been pretty distracted. Normally I’m good at focusing on what needs to be done, but I’ve found myself all over the place. I want to read books and blogs, comment on other blogs, comment back on my blog, think of new posts, actually write said posts, bake, cook some yummy new meals, catch up on TV shows, watch a movie with R, spend more time with family, play with my cats, and research prices on kitchen tools and some more expensive ingredients.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but things have been swirling around in my mind and it seems like I can’t keep track of them. Worse, I tend to get exhausted and overwhelmed and decide to put everything off. Subconsciously, I turn to distractions. This can be costly!

I’m not normally one to distract myself with social media. I don’t have a habit of scrolling through Facebook, reading statuses, looking at Instagram, or leaving my email open. So what’s going on? Why can’t I take things one at a time?


Four distractions of mine:

1. I think the biggest obstacle I’m facing right now is adapting to new foods. I wrote last week that I want to focus on eating healthier, so one of my distractions is looking up recipes. I keep discovering blogs and looking through them, bookmarking this and that, and then I forget about it. I enjoy getting ideas and looking at pretty pictures of food, but if I never make it, then I’m wasting my time. Obviously, looking up recipes is only beneficial if I actually start creating meals from them.

The entire thought of food is often enough to tire me out. I’ve been battling with it for so long, and now I have to fight the urge to succumb to familiar, unhealthy comfort foods. I just keep reminding myself that it will be worth it in the end. I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there that run through dinner choices, and then decide it’s easier to go out and eat.

2. I haven’t been as inspired to write as I was a few months ago. I’m not sure why, I’m just running low on ideas. However, I came across a great post the other day that listed ideas for blog posts, regardless of what you’re writing about. It was really helpful to kick-start some brainstorming, and I wrote down some topics. Now I just have to flesh them out!

3. It’s Winter, and I’m sadly in “hibernationmode. Barely seeing the sun all day gets depressing as many of you know. At work, we only have one little window, and being in a basement apartment means I don’t really have access to a lot of sunlight. Needless to say, I’ve been tired more than usual, and have been lacking motivation for even the simplest of things.

4. This one I’m kindly going to blame on my mom =). She’s always been somewhat addicted to computer games. For most of my life, I remember her playing the same old card games from this CD she’s had for years. She would wake up early and “relax” before work by making her daily cup of tea and playing these games.

Right around the time they moved, she started getting into the evil that is Facebook games. She kept telling me she needed help, and I kept declining until my curiosity got the best of me. I’ve played hidden object games on my iPad before, so why not see what she was playing? Well, now I sadly have about five games I play on a daily basis. It does provide me with a nice way to virtually connect with my mom besides Skype, but it’s such a time sink! I try to do this after I’ve read and commented on blogs.

Procrastinating doesn’t get you anywhere

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to me. I’ve always been one to procrastinate. I remember pulling all-nighter’s to write essays for classes in college. I always procrastinated on classwork, but I also always managed to pull it off, which means I never truly had a reason not to delay!

At the start of each semester, I always told myself things would be different. I would be organized, get ahead on assignments and reading, I would start working on things bit by bit the day it was assigned, and nothing ever changed. Yes, I survived college, but were the moments of cramming and stress worth it? Probably not.

I never procrastinate at work, though, which is a good thing! When tasks need to get done, I make sure they get done the same day. I remember working at my first full-time job, where there was a bin that held requests for material that we sold. There were four of us, and we could all split the work up, but only two of us ever went to that bin. The rest sat around waiting for work to be handed to them (which they hoped it wouldn’t be). I just can’t ignore things like that.

My goal is to apply this to my life outside of work. I don’t want to take everything seriously to the point of worrying/stressing about it, but if I apply it in moderation, I think I’ll be happier. I don’t like the feeling of not having posts pre-written for the week; I don’t like wondering if I’ll have time to fit X in for the day. I just need to start diving into things, and hopefully the warmer weather and longer days coming soon will help.

Lastly, I just want to mention that my life isn’t super-busy or unmanageable. I don’t know how those of you who have kids find time to blog! I tend to get caught up in my thoughts sometimes, though, and this can be the result. I’m sure others have found themselves in this situation.

Have you found yourself distracted lately? What are you most likely to distract yourself with? How do you stay focused?

Erin M.

Erin is a personal finance writer and virtual assistant who loves talking about money and how to use it as a tool to get what you want out of life. When she's not obsessing over numbers or working (which is rare), she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cat, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, or any random combination of the above.

44 thoughts on “What Are Your Distractions?

  1. I’d say I get really distracted by Twitter/Facebook, TV shows that I’m watching, the Olympics and other sports, and finally just random topics I end up looking up on wikipedia/google. Hardly an exhaustive list but I hear you about winter hibernation mode. I just want to stay inside and hide under a blanket this time of the year.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted: 5 Creative Ways to Pay for TravelMy Profile

    1. I’ve been having such a hard time getting out of bed simply because it’s warm and cozy! I wasn’t planning on watching the Olympics, but we tuned in several times over the weekend. I always miss watching TV shows live, so I can at least put them off until I have time to watch them. It also helps that the boyfriend plays video games so I can use that time to be productive!

  2. I get distracted SO EASILY. Mostly by social media, sometimes by stalking random blogs, and sometimes by random household tasks (or just laying on the couch watching TV, haha). I totally get what you mean with turning to distractions when you have too many things going on in your brain.

    One of the biggest things I try to remember is that making a little bit of time, even 15 mins a day, can get you closer to accomplishing your goals. For example, I really want to start reading business-ey books but don’t think I have enough time in the day… so I’m going to try to commit to just 15 mintues a day! That’s better than nothing!

    Maybe you can pick one thing you wanted to do per week (for example, this week you can think of new posts) and spend 15 minutes every day on it. By the end of the week, you’ll have spent over an hour brainstorming!
    Ashley recently posted: Fun DiscoveriesMy Profile

    1. I’m not sure how I would handle it working from home. I imagine there’s a lot more to be distracted by throughout the day! I’m glad I had time last week to brainstorm post ideas…even if it was at work (we were slow!). I really do need to switch my mentality, though. I was so used to having a decent amount of time in college to do things I enjoy, and that’s just not a reality anymore.

  3. I’m all over the place most of the time. I can definitely relate to that. Like Ashley mentioned, I really like trying to do something in short chunks of time, rather than just getting lost in the mish-mash of things to do.

    I’d love to see that blog-idea link (if you’re willing to share, you can email me) because I’m hitting a major writer’s block-wall!
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted: Handling Criticism.My Profile

    1. For some reason Facebook and Twitter don’t interest me as much! I need to get into Twitter a little bit, at least for interacting with other bloggers. I always continue to read and comment on blogs when I should probably be working on my own. I use the excuse that maybe some inspiration will spark from reading.

  4. The biggest distraction for me is not being sure what I want to focus on next. That uncertainty leads to a lot of wasted time and unfinished tasks. I’m actually starting a new system today where I have a model schedule for the day, such as 7:30-9 = Important Task #1. The day before, I fill up those blocks for the next day with things from my to-do list so that there’s no confusion about what I should be doing when. The first few hours are working out well!
    Matt Becker recently posted: The Stock Market is Falling! In Other News, Grass is Green!My Profile

    1. You always seem to have such great systems of organization! I hear you on not being sure what to focus on. I think I need to prioritize a bit better so that I can get one single thing accomplished, instead of three things half-done.

  5. I have been TOTALLY distracted lately – and feeling lazy on top of that, too! I started slowing down last week at the end of the week and am just now getting back into gear. No idea what caused it (maybe my mind was just trying to tell me I needed a quick break!). My biggest distraction today, however, has been Ancestry.com! I made what I could of our family tree a few months ago, but thought about it again this morning for some reason and ended up grabbing a free trial for 2 weeks and getting sucked in to updating it! Bad news: it destroyed like two hours of my time this morning. Cool news: I traced my lineage through a maternal grandfather back to French dukes who lived in Normandy in the 700s. As a history buff, I thought that was the neatest thing ever!
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted: I’m Not Having Kids (and That’s Okay)My Profile

    1. Taking breaks is important, at least I think so. I tend to start getting restless around the 25 minute mark of trying to write a blog post, and stepping away briefly can help me recharge.

      That is really neat! I never wondered much about my family lineage, as my great-grandparents came over from Italy and my dad’s history is such a mix. That could be interesting to look into, though.

  6. I’m not distracted as much as get overwhelmed with all the things I want to do but have a hard time finding time. I think the hardest thing is finding time to read not one but two genres of blogs for both mine. I doubled my work load! ahhhh! I feel like it takes me HOURS to get through everything. I totally feel you on the recipes though. I have so many booked marked and very few that I’ve actually attempted.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted: The Hidden Cost of Big Fitness Goals/GiveawayMy Profile

    1. I know! I don’t comment on health-centered blogs, but I do try and read them on a daily basis on top of my favorite PF blogs, and it is a lot. You don’t realize it during the reading and commenting because it’s enjoyable, but afterward I’m always wondering how it took me three hours!

    1. I’m sorry Clarisse, I hope things get better. Sometimes it can be really overwhelming to try and balance so many things, and it feels a bit hopeless, but it’s not!

    1. Haha, very ironic! I also feel like if I could just garner more energy instead of feeling so lazy, things would be better. That goes along with being in hibernation mode.

  7. I’m feeling the same way! Probably with more exercise, more after work activities and more work at work, I have less time for all the things you mention :( So my blogging has to slip. And my commenting.

    For the meals thing, plan a weekly menu, and have some ‘usuals’ that you know and can cook, and add one or two to try. That way, it’s not too much new, but it’s managable, hopefully!
    SarahN recently posted: 12 in 2 list: Dinner at AriaMy Profile

    1. Taking on more responsibility at work is stressful, but I’m sure you’re doing well! That’s what I have generally been trying to do. I did make a new meal tonight and it was delicious, so I’m sure that will now make it into the regular rotation! Plus we had leftovers, win win.

  8. I don’t get much dedicated time to spend on my blog and when I do, I get really annoyed with myself for getting distracted when I should be writing a post or doing one of the many other tasks that go hand in hand with blogging! My distractions are usually reading other blogs, checking my blog stats etc. I really need to use my time better. On another note, I’ve just written a post on Monday about avoiding writer’s block, which might help you with your blog writing goals!
    Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt recently posted: DIY Valentine’s Gifts: Fun and Frugal Projects to MakeMy Profile

    1. Yes, I definitely looked that over! I think one of my issues is that I like to “go with the flow” and not completely pre-plan posts. I like to write about what’s currently happening in my life, but sometimes nothing interesting is going on, and then I get a little stumped!

  9. I can easily get distracted with food blogs, too – there’s so many great recipes out there, but I always seem to go back to the ones that I know and are most familiar. Lately it’s been a lot of wedding stuff, so I’m looking forward to having some free time again because I really miss reading blogs and books! That’s so funny about FB games – that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been avoiding it, I think I would get addicted with them! :)
    anna recently posted: Transitioning the “Me” Thinking Into “We” ThinkingMy Profile

    1. You would do well to continue steering clear of FB games. I’m not even playing the silly popular ones like Candy Crush! I can’t even imagine being consumed with wedding related tasks every day. My coworker is in the midst of planning hers and we hear about it constantly. She even admitted to breaking down over centerpieces! Stressful, but worth it in the end =).

  10. Hey EM and join the club! Distraction is my middle name!!

    I also think that our bodies are coming down from the rush of the holidays and as it is winter outside, we also have to contend with the seasonal doldrums…which may be what is affecting your writing and inspiration!

    Hopefully, you’ll break out of the doldrums soon and be back to your old self again :)

    Take care and all the best.


    1. I do think that’s a big part of it. The cold and snow are not helping at all, and I think I’m getting a bit of cabin fever! I would love for Spring to get here already.

  11. I’m a huge procrastinator and can distract myself like a pro. I haven’t found the answer yet, I just randomly have intense periods of productivity and deep lulls where I can’t get anything done — usually within the same 24 hours. For now, I go along with it, but I’m trying to get motivated!
    Erin @ Gen Y Finances recently posted: Frugal Workout IdeasMy Profile

    1. I wish I could have that attitude! That’s what pretirement is about, though. Exploring new things and enjoying life as it unfolds. Spend your time in ways that make you happy!

    1. It’s so bad lately! I really miss going for walks now, even though I have to admit, I got a bit lazy about it toward the end of the summer. I’m going crazy being inside all the time though, I can’t wait to start enjoying warm weather.

  12. I can procrastinate too, looking mostly at my news blogs. I’m addicted to local news stories! But then I do what I need to do to get motivated, like start playing tunes to get me to clean and that usually helps.

    But like your mom does to relax in the morning, sometimes we do need “wind-down” time. I know after work, I need that little bit of time to just relax in front of the TV with my computer. So long as that little bit of time doesn’t turn into more than an hour, I let myself have that bit of relaxation daily.
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted: I had my first “free” vacationMy Profile

    1. It is important to have some time dedicated to relaxing. Overall, I try to be in favor of doing what makes you happy, unless it’s really detrimental in some way. However, getting some stuff crossed off my list of things to do would also make me happy!

  13. You sound a lot like myself with the procrastination etc…!

    “read books and blogs, comment on other blogs, comment back on my blog, think of new posts, actually write said posts”

    This is exactly me at the moment… I’ve got blog overload going on! There must be a secret trick to reading and commenting on a lot of blogs whilst still running your own. Maybe it is to quit your day job… hah!
    theFIREstarter recently posted: Guest Post at Done by Forty: Limit Your Options, Expand Your WalletMy Profile

    1. You really don’t realize how time intensive reading and commenting is until you pay attention to the time! A while ago, I whittled down the blogs I read by making a “favorite” folder in my feed, but I keep adding more and more!

  14. School is my major distraction right now, aside from my regular job. They eat up a lot of my time, and I know there are times where I should be writing or editing or commenting on other blogs, but really just want to kick back and watch House of Cards. That’s been a pretty big distraction the past week or two. But honestly just trying to fit a busy lifestyle into what seem like shorter and shorter days. And you’re right, cold winter and lack of sunshine don’t help the motivation at all.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted: you vs. the economyMy Profile

    1. When I was in college I would find every excuse under the sun to procrastinate, it was so bad. I hear you on the days seeming shorter and shorter, though. At least the sun is staying out longer now!

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