Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Distractions Are GOOD, right?

The other day I was so distracted that I could hardly focus on what I needed to accomplish for the day. I started making a list and found my mind kept wandering. I suddenly realized this was happening and decided to post it on Facebook. I asked my friend-ly community, what distracts them. Almost every person replied with a distraction that they considered a good thing under normal circumstances. They replied about their children, Facebook, the scenery outside, an event they were looking forward to and thinking of friends and family that were missed. All positive things or good things, right?

We sometimes think of distraction as a negative thing. However, I like to think that sometimes, distractions can help us accomplish what we are trying to achieve. How so you may ask?

Well how about when you go to the Doctor and you need to have blood drawn. I’ll bet most of us, turn away and think of something else besides the blood leaving our body and the prick of the needle. Or, you’re stuck in traffic on a hot summer day. Instead of focusing on the heat, the bumper to bumper traffic, you turn on the radio or an audio book. Distractions can actually help us accomplish something that we don’t necessarily want to do. By using a distraction we can take the focus off of something that feels unpleasant to us so that we able to get done what we may not want to do.

Let’s take for example an event. For whatever reason, you may be stressing over attending. Why not use distraction to make it easier. As a Once Timid Networker, I used to loath these events. I would get so anxious before that I would almost make myself physically ill. I have since learned a few “distractions” for myself to make it easier.

1. Just DO it! That’s right, don’t even think about it, just act. We can create anxiety in our minds that is worlds worse than the actuality. Be so distracted that you don’t even think about what you’re about to do. In the words of my wise mother, “Just get an attitude about it!” Trust me, it works!

2. Invite a friend along who might be a timid networker and focus on helping them instead of yourself. Helping another is a great distraction and they love you for helping them out!

3. Play music that gets you excited on your way. You will be so focused on singing your heart out in the car that you forget about where you are going. In turn you get yourself energized and ready to go. Personally, I use theme songs and I love how they distract me!!

4. Find something “shiny”. Yes, some of us can be distracted by something sparkly (ahem!) But when you find what your personal “sparkle factor” is, that thing that makes your eyes shine, you can use it to your advantage and it can actually help you accomplish your goal. (another blog to come on “The Sparkle Factor”)

5. Visualization! Visualize yourself networking like a pro around the room, talking to strangers, taking their card, introducing them to others acting the host to the event… even if you’re not. Studies show when we start thinking about helping others, we will be less stressed. See yourself acting the part. When it comes time to do it in real life, it will be very similar to what you visualized.

Let’s face it, we distract ourselves all the time. We just need to learn how to channel our efforts and use them to our advantage. Find what works for you. Use distractions to get the things done on your list that you don’t want to do. Feel the sense of accomplishment when you do it!

Tara Schmakel
The Once Timid Networker
Entrepreneurial Excellence
The Workroom at Tara's


  1. awesome. love your posts. can't wait to read the sparkle factor!

  2. Is it related to the Farkle Factor? That's what I thought I read and I wasn't even distracted. Part of why I love your blog so much is I feel like I'm sitting with you, enjoying a lazy, yet energetic conversation with a best friend. I can hear you say every move and I can imagine your wonderful, animated body language. I'll bet there are others who feel much the same. xoxo

  3. Try that again -- I can hear you say every WORD and I can imagine your wonderful, animated body language. Phew! I feel better now! And besides, it let me "xoxo" two times! xoxo

  4. Brianne and Val, I love that almost all of my posts have you guys comments on them! You guys make me want to write more, love you both!!!

    Sparkle Factor is next!