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The Importance of Simplifying Due to Unprecedented Amounts of Distraction

The status quo of being busy and distracted is affecting all of our lives. By being intentional and simplifying, we will reap benefits and rewards that only come with conscious attention to habits.
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Man in home office using computer holding credit card and smiling
Man in home office using computer holding credit card and smiling

With access to technology, information, news and work being more readily and easily available than ever before, our society is participating in unprecedented amounts of distraction. Being "busy" has become a characteristic that is remarkable, desirable and that of a power status. This busy culture is contributed to by the constant access to mobile and technological communication. Often times, "busy" is synonymous with "distracted".

We are not busy. We tell ourselves we are, when in reality, everyone has the same amount of time in the day. It's what we choose to do with it that makes the difference in our work and personal lives. By choosing to be less distracted by work and mobile devices, we are more productive when actually working and engaged with our loved ones.

Our work emails are pushed to our mobile devices and our co-workers, colleagues and bosses can text message us with non-urgent matters and it immediately alerts us and displays on our phones. Social media is being used by 74% of online adults and usually multiple times a day. Many individuals in our society are checking their phone and social media accounts before even stepping foot on the ground in the morning. Americans are multi-tasking and, contrary to popular belief, we are becoming less efficient than ever. We are pulling ourselves into too many different directions.

When we single-task rather than multitask, we produce less cortisol, which means we are less stressed. Essentially, this makes us happier and able to do our jobs more efficiently. It would seem choosing to simplify our schedules and access to technology would be a possible solution to a multifaceted problematic phenomena. The difficulty exists though, that most of society has trouble believing that the constant access to information, news, work and technology is the beginning of a problem. Because we are addicted to it, and since it isn't an illegal drug or an inherently negative action, it is difficult to believe there are consequences to this.

The mainstream emergence of minimalism, simple living and essentialism is giving pause to the busy culture Americans are consciously and unconsciously striving for. By giving intentional effort to single-tasking and living in the present moment, work and cell phone addiction takes a back seat. By not multitasking, we are able to more carefully and joyfully complete each task. This, in turn, makes us more pleasant to be around, and able to achieve more productivity when we do need to work. There is a time for work, and a time for personal life and a time for family. Why not be intentional and sincerely focus on each aspect of our lives separately?

The good news is how comforting and freeing it is to release ourselves from the constant stress of multitasking and working on weekends, evenings, on lunch breaks. Examples of simplifying could be a simple as sleeping with the cell phone in another room, having 2 set times a day to check social media, not getting on Facebook for a month at a time, setting time for "real life" social engagements, not checking work email after 3:00PM on Friday until 10:00AM Monday morning, clearing out household clutter. Examples of single-tasking could be only having one screen open on the computer at a time, and only working on one thing at a time on the computer, or starting one project only after finishing another, not keeping a running to-do list that spills over to the next day. Thoughts and concerns are much more articulately explained when created in a headspace of clarity.

The status quo of being busy and distracted is affecting all of our lives. By being intentional and simplifying, we will reap benefits and rewards that only come with conscious attention to habits.