I tend to either go to work on something that needs done and see six other things needing done so I flit around doing them. Meanwhile the thing I was trying to accomplish is still not done. Or I hyper focus on something and stay immersed for hours in it when other things truly need to be done. This can impact my spiritual life, physical well being, keeping up on my home, or being creative.
Focusing has been a challenge all of my life. My teacher had me spend much of third grade in a corner all by myself so I would be less distracted by other kids and quit socializing. I know I have ADD and am easily distracted. Couple that with chronic health issues that cause me to be “consistently inconsistent” because I never know from day to day or even hour to hour how I will feel is the perfect storm for distraction.
A prime example is the fact I have to take a medication 30 minutes before eating to manage my mast cell disease. I can put the water heating to be slightly warmed in microwave and in the 25 seconds decide to clear the table or check something online and 20, 30, 40 minutes and several different things later still have not taken my medicine making my meal later.
It is 4:30 in the afternoon and realize have not planned dinner again. I now go with what can thaw quickest in microwave. This happens SO many times unless on the weekend I write out a meal plan and shopping list for the week.
Another example would be when I am working on a creative project like sewing, gardening or watercolor painting and I am so immersed in the project and hyper focused I do not realize how much time has passed and can be lost in it for hours upon hours at a time.
Lists and timers are my best friends. To-do lists help me prioritize and accomplish what is needed rather than doing what is distracting me. If something is distracting if I write it on today or the next day’s list I know it won’t be forgotten and can leave it to sorta stay on task. If something is niggling at my brain and distracting me during my time in Bible reading and prayer I write it down on a tablet kept nearby. Over the years with consistent training and asking God to help me focus on Him it has gotten where need to do that much less often. I have found when have scheduled appointments or zoom meetings that my calendar app on my phone set with reminder alarms at 2 hours and again at 30 minutes before travel time help me to be ready on time.
Another way timers help me is with my various medications. One is taken four times a day 30 minutes before eating and at least 2 hours after last meal and at least 30 minutes after any other medication. If not taken this way, this medication is rendered ineffective. Lately, this has been helped by my hubby wanting to eat lunch with me so I set an alarm to take it and make myself follow through. After each dose I set a timer for 20 minutes to leave me 10 minutes to prep my breakfast or lunch. Dinner dose taken half hour before meal should be finished and I am usually in kitchen cooking. Also I have meds to take between dinner and bedtime and again at bedtime. Setting alarms on my phone has really helped me stay up on these.
Because I am easily distracted, we sit up front at church so no cute kids or movements of others to distract me from the worship team or pastor’s sermon. Because I know I am not an oral learner I take copious notes during the teaching because I retain what I write. I do the same when attending conferences or seminars whether on the Bible, gardening or any subject. Knowing my weaknesses and preparing to counter them becomes a strength.
My best weeks are the ones where I meal plan and discuss the coming week with my husband on Sunday afternoon or evening. Meal plans help me shop appropriately rather than just buy things that look interesting and either have too much of something and/or missing items to make meals. I know what is important for my husband, for us as a couple in the coming week and we often pray for God to order the coming week. These weeks work best if no mast cell reactions or flares, which can knock me down physically and give enough brain fog to add to my distraction and forgetfulness.
I have been praying for God to “teach me to number my days so I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). For Him to enable me to use my time more wisely and prioritize what I do based on what He desires and what has eternal value. I am reminded God created me and knows every intimate detail, every minute molecule about me. Even with an ADD brain and chronic health issues I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that He knows what all the days of my life will be like and has them written in His book long before I existed. (Psalm 139:16) Nothing I do, say or think surprises God because He is aware of it long beforehand. (Psalm 139).
So my timers and lists and praying for God to show me His priorities for the day help me to number my days and have more of a heart of wisdom. Will I continue to be easily distracted? Most likely. Will I get priorities messed up? Undoubtably! But I know my God loves me, cares for me and leads me and when I blow it, in His mercy, He is ready to forgive me when I confess my sins
Are you easily distracted? What has helped you be able to stay on task? I welcome all insights and wisdom from you, my readers so share away in the comments.
Have an amazing week!