REFLECTION: Some days it seems like life is one big pinball experience. You blast into action with a big rush of energy towards your main goal for the day. Within moments an unexpected problem forces you off course. While your attention shifts in the direction of the diversion, phone calls, email, and drop-ins further deflect your concentration from the task at hand. Just as you give your head a shake and circle back around to where you started, you find yourself drawn to a shiny distraction that you hadn’t noted before. And so it goes.
The game continues. You ping, pong, bounce, and rebound your way through the day, seemingly at the mercy of external impediments and obstacles that may or may not have anything to do with your initial intent.
Been there? Done that?
(BTW, if you are of a certain age where pinball is a foreign word, you’ll find it described on Wiki.)
What’s the difference between the game of pinball and life as a pinball experience? In the game you get points for crazed careening. Keep the play in motion without tilting, and you not only rack up high scores, but you also get to play keep on playing.
In pinball as life, crazed careening also keeps us ‘playing’ – sometimes late into the evening hours. However, as we tilt in multiple directions, our productivity sinks and satisfaction flounders – despite massive injections of energy along the way.
ACTION: Here are a few strategies that can help you make more satisfying progress in a pinball world where obstructions continuously pop into play:
- Start with an intention to be more focused and composed. It will heighten the quality of attention you bring to tasks at hand and reduce your susceptibility to distraction.
- Build in ‘think time’ early in the day and make ‘get back on track’ investments of time as the day unfolds.
- Limit inflow distractions whenever possible. There isn’t a cell phone or computer ‘alive’ that can force you to look its way unless you give it that power over your attention. Check for new input and info when it suits you – not on the whim of the machine.
- Be thoughtful about the number of meetings and appointments you schedule in the course of a day. Nonstop back to back confabs will keep you bouncing between engagements with little time for thoughtful preparation or follow through.
- Develop one or two no-fail strategies to catch your breath and calm yourself down when the pace of play sends stress levels into the stratosphere. You’ll need them to stay in the game!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Whatever you want to accomplish, whatever is important to you, do it and do it now – with as much grace, intensity, and sense of ease as you can muster.” – Marc Lesser
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Check out Marc Lesser’s book: “LESS – Accomplishing More by Doing Less”. 2009. New World Library. You can get a sense of Marc’s voice from his blog at: http://doingless.net/blog
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s Pause message, Valentine Reflections, reader CD writes: “Thanks for the relationship reminders, Pat! The one that resonates most for me (married almost 20 years) is – tell your partner what you want/need. I think many of us, especially women, have hopes and dreams for our relationships, but feel like if we have to tell our partners, it won’t be meaningful if they happen. I have told many of my younger friends “tell him what you want”! Would it be nice for him to divine that information? Sure. But 9 times out of 10 it won’t happen, and this creates resentments that really aren’t fair.”