Maybe you’ve thought, former procrastinators, sometimes there’s good distraction that actually helps me stay on the wall and do what I need to do. True. We just have to be certain the distraction serves to help us be faithful to accomplish what we’re called to do.
What can distract me without diverting me from the work I ought to do? I think it’s something that takes my mind off the hardship, pain, or aggravation of a chore while at the same time actually helping me make progress on the job.
For Nehemiah and his wall builders, I can only use my imagination. They had to stay alert to possible enemy attack, so they couldn’t be intently focused on a diversion. Maybe they sang songs of the Hebrew faith. Maybe they had work chants. Maybe teams challenged each other with contests to see who could lay the most stone before the sun set. Maybe they told stories of life they envisioned when the wall was done and Jerusalem rebuilt within.
Sometimes thinking about something other than the work while working results in more work done. This is true for me in the gym. I tire more easily when I count reps. One day with a trainer, she observed, “You work really well with distraction.” We’d been chatting. Now when I silently review scripture or sing, I lift more weight, and hold up longer.
This brings to mind “The Volga Boat Song” in my beginner piano book. My teacher said the men would sing as they strained against the ropes they used to pull boats across land. Whew. Definitely need something else to think about there.
Service men and women chant cadences when they’re running for PT. “C130 rolling down the strip/Airborne daddy gonna take a little trip… “ Effective for helping them cover the miles.
Other appropriate diversions help us make progress:
- Devising games for house clean up
- Playing games in the car to help pass the miles
- Substituting gum for cigarettes or crunchy carrots for crunchy potato chips
- Chewing gum to lift your mood, release nervous energy, and counter stress
- Whistling while you work
- Switch between tasks (to refresh your focus)
- Aiming for tiny mini goals – run to the third telephone pole, etc.
- Requiring full out exertion on your project – until the timer goes off
- And of course, SING!
Find appropriate ways to take your mind off “suffering” and keep yourself on task. Delay is not an option. Pay attention to staying on the wall. I read about a lady who said she could clean bathrooms all day as long as she got to wear her favorite French perfume. Find the thing that boosts you on. Enjoy the progress!
Recognize and defend against the enemy’s distraction and diversion. When complete, we can know our work was done by our God.
What helpful diversion do you use to help you stay on task?