My battle with distraction began during my primary school days. Back then, my mum had a nickname for me: mini television addict. I was drawn in by the stories of the different television series which transported me away from my mundane life. By browsing through the different channels, I ended up with dramas lined up at every hour. Understandably, this made it hard to focus on my homework.
However, I should count myself lucky as the stakes weren’t high at that time. I could afford to dawdle and give in to distraction. All it meant was completing my schoolwork at a later time. It was simple back then and I had long accepted and accommodated for distraction in my work routine. At least, that was until I embarked on my own journey of remote working.
There are always distractions, if you allow them.
– Tony La Russa
A few weeks ago, I was thrust into the world of WFH (work-from-home). When the news first broke, I was exhilarated. I was anticipating the endless possibilities this novel working arrangement might bring.
I arose bright and early for my first day of remote work and started on my tasks excitedly. Without the invisible pressure imposed by the sight of my colleagues hard at work, I felt liberated! I could do work at my own pace and that meant justifying mini breaks whenever I needed it. However, as the day went on, I grew increasingly unmotivated to carry on with my tasks.
Be it the Shopee Candy game or that YouTube video, anything and everything seemed more appealing than the thought of work. Unsurprisingly, I gave in to my urges and succumbed to those distractions.
Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.
– Adam Hochschild
However, time is precious and there is a price for wasting it. By granting myself those downtimes, I delayed working on my tasks and had to make up for it after the usual 9am-6pm working hours. It meant living with a 10-hour work day, albeit interjected with numerous breaks.
This routine went on for a few weeks and for a while, it worked. But, as it dragged on, I started to feel listless and exhausted. The long working hours meant I had little time to unwind and recharge before a new work day.
It was then that I understood I was experiencing burnout. And I had no one but myself to blame.
My indulgence in those excessive breaks served only to diminish productivity. It ate into my personal time, destroying any semblance of a work-life balance. It presents an issue but at the same time, an opportunity for change. I have realized now the importance of self control from all those distractions and the need to prevent them from affecting my life.
The battle is on and I will strive, slowly and surely, to triumph at the end of the day.
By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.
– Christopher Columbus