Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Distractions--How to Avoid Common Pitfalls and Finish Your Tasks

Staying the Course and Finishing the Task at Hand

One of my favorite books to read to the kids was "If You Give a Mouse A Cookie."  It was the perfect example of how a simple task can lead to distractions, and, before we know it, we've done everything except the one thing we had set out to do in the first place.
There was recently one on Facebook that described a mom's life almost perfectly.

If you give a mom a muffin, she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.  So she’ll pour herself some. 
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old. She’ll wipe it up. 
Wiping up the floor, she will find some dirty socks. She’ll remember she has to do some laundry. 
When she puts the laundry in the washer, she’ll trip over some boots and bump into the freezer. 
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight. She will get out a pound of hamburger. 
She’ll look for her cookbook. The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. 
She’ll see the phone bill which is due tomorrow. 
She will look for the checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old. 
She’ll smell something funny. She’ll change the two year old. 
While she is changing the two year old, the phone will ring. 
Her five year old will answer it and hang up. 
She’ll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on Friday. 
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. 
She will pour herself another cup. And notice that someone has eaten the muffin.

(C) 2012 Parenting Is Funny
Does this sound familiar to you?  I know it does to me!  It could almost be my daily routine and one reason I lose such valuable time throughout my day.  These sorts of distractions are all around us, but there are ways of avoiding them.  
As I said yesterday, we can make schedules.  Whether you use a smartphone, tablet or hard copy calendar, I encourage you to write things down.  This allows us to see our day at a glance.  And with everything we have going on in our busy lives, we are not likely to remember all these things no matter what we tell ourselves.  I am a list maker and I enjoy checking things off throughout the day.
Since I'm a writer, I like to do that, but maybe you need something printed out or visual examples work better for you.  Then I would encourage you to create a pictorial task list or chore list.  Laminate it so it can be reused.
When taking on more tasks, such as helping at church, community involvement, and children's activities, ask yourself if you can do it and then ask God if you should do it!  Service is such a great opportunity to reach out to others, but not at the expense of our own families.  This can be a distraction that keeps us from accomplishing daily goals and tasks.  
It is also a pitfall for us if we fear letting others down or how we might look if we choose to turn down the request for help.  This is a pride issue.  A lot of distractions, not wanting to let others down, how we might come across to others, wanting to seem as though we can "do it all" are all pride things, and we need to know and accept our own limitations. 

We don't have to live with an immediacy expectation either!  We can work to finish our tasks knowing that we have done them well and for the glory of the Lord.

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