That Time I Couldn’t Wait Ten Minutes


Art: sammydavisdog via

I walked out of Avengers Infinity War shocked and sad. No spoilers here, but I’ll just say that while I found the movie phenomenal on many levels, I wanted a different ending. Anyway, in a lame attempt to dissolve my disappointment, I retreated to my car and Googled a couple of my cast favs, Josh Brolin (aka Thanos), Chadwick Boseman (aka Black Panther) and Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Dr. Strange). An hour later, I was far, far down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. I’d uncovered birth dates, ages, hometowns, credits in other movies, siblings, spouses, etc. Chadwick and I even share the same alma mater. Who knew and, more importantly, who cares?

The good news is that this hearty sleuthing put distance between me and that unloved movie ending. The bad news is that I threw an hour away and had nothing solid to show for it. The actors got paid to practice their craft and left it all on the screen. I worked for free, gathering virtually useless data. Maybe it wouldn’t have been that bad if I was bedridden, on vacation or trapped on a commuter bus home at the end of a long day, but I was fully brain-capable of using my prime time slots more productively.

Been there?

I could have:

  1. Dug into one the novels I am reading
  2. Dug into one of the novels I am writing.
  3. Penned a poem or a song.
  4. Did yoga or hiked a trail.
  5. Done laundry or cleaned a room.
  6. Cooked a meal
  7. Caught up with a friend.
  8. Done genetic-link detective work with one of my possible fifth cousins on
  9. Listened to a Podcast or webinar.
  10. Washed my hair.

Sometimes when you are running hard, running serious or the list is too long, it’s good to waste time, space out, veg out, dawdle, and have fun that is not goal-oriented, but when you think about how limited time really is and what it costs spend it frivolously on things that don’t matter, you don’t want to make a habit of it, right? I’m pretty focused most days, but I get got too and this episode made it clear to me that I can do better.

So, I am rereading a book on focus titled The Power of Self Discipline by Som Bathla. I’m drawn to his simple, basic, sustainable ways to hack into our own behavior and maximize our power to get important things done. Nothing that would teach me to be magical or superhuman, although focus does sort of give you wings.

This week’s lesson: Deploying the ten-minute wait until the craving for whatever distraction goes away Also, I turned the data off on my phone so I can’t readily get to Google or Wikipedia. The two go hand in hand, I’ve learned. So far, so good.

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

6 thoughts on “That Time I Couldn’t Wait Ten Minutes

  1. I probably waste a lot of time, but everyone must decide between being and doing. The older I get, the more content I am with being in the moment, doing things that give me pleasure. You’d think with the window of life getting narrower, I’d feel more urgency, but I feel less need to get things done and more to be in the now, enjoying the world around me.

  2. That’s a good idea to turn the data off.
    I’m a list girl, so I keep a visible or mental list of things that need to get done before I reward myself with a “useless” activity.

  3. Like Kelley, I make several lists, and I’m pretty accountable to myself. I also turn the timer on my phone on for each activity (an hour at a time) and flip my phone over so that I don’t look at it when it lights up.

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