I don’t know about you, but quarantine is making it even easier than before to get distracted.
Because I have next to no plans, I keep procrastinating with just about everything. I often tell my mom, “Well, it’s not like I have any plans for the weekend. I can finish my school assignments/do chores/write a blog post later.”
One thing our pastor said last week really stood out to me, and I paraphrase, “Don’t let your distractions become your habits.”
What did he mean by this? He explained that during this time of isolation and social distancing that we are starting to spend more time on the things we used to call “distractions,” like TV and social media.
I got to thinking, what distractions am I making habits right now? And what can I do to eliminate them now so I don’t have to deal with them when life gets back to normal?
I compiled a list of distractions you might be dealing with right now. A while ago, we talked about “squirrels” that distract us from writing. Well, this is a post about “squirrels” that distract us from living rightly.
In case you aren’t familiar with the previous squirrel post, I explained how our dog is easily distracted. If she sees a squirrel, everything else goes out the window. We all have squirrels—things that take our attention away from what we should be doing.
The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-17, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Before we dive in, let me note that the distractions I list here are not necessarily bad. They can be very good in moderation. When we engage in these activities to excess we can cause them to become “squirrels.” 😉
Ah, sleep. For some reason, those last few minutes in bed are the best. The moment where you hang between sleep and the real world before your alarm jars you awake.
Some of us are probably sleeping in more often now that we don’t have to go to school or work. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But when sleeping in starts cutting into our time with God or time to be productive, it becomes a problem. It’s all too easy to sleep in until ten minutes before breakfast and not make time for God’s Word.
Let it be noted that I’m not a sleeping in type of person or an early bird either. I’m more likely to stay up late than get up at the crack of dawn. However, this can become a distraction too. We’re rarely as productive as we could be when we’re half-asleep because we stayed up until midnight reading a book.
How can we prevent sleep (or lack thereof) from becoming a bad habit during quarantine?
My best advice would be to set a time when you get up and a time when you go to bed. Then follow that schedule to the best of your ability. Be sure to ask for accountability, whether that is from a friend or family member. I know I’ve said it many times, but accountability really helps you to achieve your goals.
I love a good movie. My brother and I have been watching the Avengers movies for the first time and we’re really enjoying them. (Captain America is my favorite, in case you were wondering.)
Just like sleeping, watching TV can quickly become a distraction from living for God. We could talk about how the content of what you watch affects your faith, but that is a topic for another time. No matter what exactly you are watching, it can become a huge distraction.
Let’s be honest for a moment. TV is so much more fun than school. Particularly if you’re trying to figure out how to do school remotely for the first time.
But school or working from home needs to take priority over entertainment.
If it helps, use TV as a bribe. Tell yourself you can’t watch anything until you finish your homework or edit that short story.
We could argue that we need to spend more time on social media right now because we have no other way to stay in touch with our friends.
True, but what exactly do you look at while you are on social media?
A girl in my college group at church said something that really struck me. We say that we use social media to stay in touch with our friends and family, but most of the things we look at on social media have nothing to do with them.
When I look at my own social media use, I see the same problem. Sure, I look at my friends’ posts, but most of my time on Facebook is spent on meme pages or watching videos.
What can we do to keep social media from becoming an even more distracting habit than it is already? One thing I tried a few weeks ago was removing the Facebook app from my phone. I still looked at Facebook, but I had to use my web browser, which was a lot slower and irritating to use. It stopped me from spending every spare five minutes on my phone. I did eventually reinstall the app, but I’m much more conscious of how much time I spend on social media now.
Another thing you could try is to set time limits for yourself. I’ve been telling myself no Facebook until after 1 pm. That way I can spend all morning working on school without the temptation to “take a quick break and look at memes.” (It also helps that my friends are keeping me accountable. 😉)
There are several apps that you can download that will prevent you from accessing certain websites or apps for a set time period. I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard good things about the Freedom App.
I know we could come up with more things we usually call distractions that we’re letting become habits during quarantine. I’d like to encourage you to take ten minutes and list all the things you find yourself doing that are preventing you from using your time wisely and living for God. Then, brainstorm some ways on how you can prevent them from taking over your life. If you want, share some ideas below!
See you soon!
Check out this post about “Not-Squirrels,” those things we sometimes think are distractions, but really aren’t.