More than occasionally, I get distracted by things I take more than a passing interest in. I’m working and then somehow “tele-pathetically”, my attention and thoughts have been teleported to some obscure webpage which I micromanage my way through. It just takes one stray thought to hijack my stream of consciousness. It could be about something trivial I read in the news that morning, or something profound I thought about the day before, or even something ethereal I dreamed about … or daydreamed about. Whatever it is, I pursue this new found interest with behemoth vehemence, almost as if I’m championing some cause.
It could be, I think, a coping mechanism of some sorts that I inherited genetically from my father. You see, he was a real estate appraiser, and a reformed mathematician. Half the day he spent driving around different neighborhoods looking at “comparables” (houses that had previously sold) and trying hard not to look like he was casing said neighborhoods for a future home invasion scheme. The other half of the day he would write up his appraisal reports: monotonous long and short forms to be completed with data and figures that mortgage lenders would eventually rip borrowers off with. When completing such forms, my father needed distraction to break up the stress of monotony. If at home or at the office, he’d listen to talk or sports radio. Usually though, he liked to sit at busy places so he could look up at the all the hustle and bustle and watch people and the world go by. Really! You’d find him sitting at a mall, at the airport, in a hotel lobby, etc. Had Starbucks been around when he was working he most likely would have been a fixture. He had an active mind… so he needed distraction. I’m pretty much the same way … (pensive pregnant pause entered here) … though most likely due to the raging modicum of my mom in me as well, I fear that a small part of my willingness and penchant to be distracted might also betray a much needed break from reality.
Ok, so I’m not a real estate appraiser, I’m a …….. well let’s just say I do a lot creative things that tax my mind, like writing. And, when my work involves deadlines then I’m doubly stressed. So mental vacations are all the rage in my little cognitive world.
I’ve often wondered whether perhaps these mental jaunts might be symptomatic of some form of attention deficit disorder. Some politically correct pseudo-intellectuals might nod their collective heads and term it an ability to multitask. Thanks, and it sounds nice, but you and I both know the truth: there’s only one thing on my mind at a time, along with a nagging elfin voice booming “hey, aren’t you supposed to be…”. Yes, I know better, but it appears I care less.
To make maters worse, I’m a chronic procrastinator. Yes, he the artistic, creative and mentally uptight laid back one procrastinates. Don’t ask me why, it’s just a state of mind and old coping mechanisms die hard. It’s ok, I admit it, and it’s a problem, I know it. It’s something I need to address, and I will… eventually.
They say that procrastinators often do so because they have a deep rooted fear of failure. Perfectionists by nature, they procrastinate to avoid completing a task so that their effort won’t be judged negatively should not it fare well and yield shouts of “glory be!”. Having rather inflated egos and an overconfident, albeit ludicrous, sense of their abilities, they procrastinate so they may feign the excuse “oh well, if I had had enough time to complete the job, I would have defied expectation. What a pity I ran out of time”.
Another thorn in my foot’s arch is that most of my work is computer based … and most of my interests are Internet based. The plethora (there’s a word that should scare you all!) of available information on the Internet, both relevant and irrelevant, makes these mental excursions of mine tantamount to searches for the holy grail; they never end. I’m always searching for that one more piece of elusive information that will satiate my appetite and return me back to my work and reality. And, just like Muddy Waters, “I can’t be satisfied”.
Ok, I’m not a perfectionist and I’m not lazy. I’m not bored with my work and I’m not “above all this”. What I am is a dreamer. 12 school years of looking out the window will do that for you. I should research things for a living. I’m good at finding the needle in the haystack. I enjoy the trip. It’s inane, I know. But, at least, thank god, I don’t do Farmville!
PS. Thanks for reading. If any of you all can relate, share your thoughts, leave a message and I’ll get back to you when I return.