CHAPTER 6A Habit of Distraction

You are outside working in the yard with your phone in your pocket and you receive a text message, which creates a push notification, which causes you to immediately take out your phone and read and respond to the message. After responding and following part of the usual “rabbit hole smartphone routine,” you then open one of the social media apps and do a quick scroll, which causes you to watch a video of your aunt's cat, who apparently just learned how to play the violin. You have to comment and congratulate your aunt (and of course, the virtuoso feline). Meanwhile, nothing is getting done in the yard. You are standing there with the phone in your hand, next to the waiting lawnmower and an unkempt yard. What was supposed to take an hour took much longer because you were distracted multiple times by your smartphone and all of the apps that are constantly panhandling for your attention. What's worse is that the next time you plan to work in the yard, you will factor in the time it took you to complete the yard work, including your smartphone distractions and rabbit holes, only to determine that you do not have enough time for yard work that day.

Distraction is all around us. It comes from the screens, gadgets, humans, and a host of other living and nonliving entities that are around us at all of the time. Where are you reading this chapter? Are you on your couch at home or at a coffee shop? Is the television on with sound? What about your smartphone? ...

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