The Apprentice Diaries #5

Distractions. They were all over the place. Catching me unawares. Blindsighting me on a perfectly normal morning. When all I really wanted to do was chalk out my tasks for the day, make as little noise as possible and get on with it. I’d think I had it all sorted. And that I was in control. My time, my choices, its how I get my work done.

When, boom! The internet. A news item. A conversation. A food blog. A random thought. Leads to another thought. And another. And so on. A message from the husband. A scary deadline.

Productivity – 0. Distractions – 288632. And then some.

This is pretty much how every day of the last 6 odd weeks (or maybe more, who knows?) of the fag end of my time at work, would begin. The harder I fought the distractions, the harder they came down on me. Extra attempts to focus, seemed only to make me that much more vulnerable. The more I would fret about wasted time and incomplete work, the more deadlines would evade me.

Of late, though, I’ve discovered a new thing about distractions. They disappear. When you’re really engrossed in what you’re doing, no matter how tedious, if you’re minds in it, no matter how mindless, its possible to reach that point where nothing else matters.

Last week, I helped frost and decorate 200 cupcakes. Another day, I sliced close to 30 lemons. One afternoon, we had a barrage of Chinese exchange students. About 20 of them, none of whom spoke English. For a few minutes, there was panic. But we managed it all. No slip ups. No glitches.

No distractions.

When you’re doing what you are like your life depends on it, distractions? They cease to exist. They vaporise like remnants of smoke. They scoot out the back door like unwanted guests. Never to return.

I’m re-discovering a feeling I had long forgotten. Of losing myself in something that absorbs and engages me to the very core. Its one of the advantages of delving into a deep-seated desire, no strings attached, I suppose. Its an addictive high. And now that I have tasted it, I cannot seem to get enough of it.

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9 thoughts on “The Apprentice Diaries #5

  1. I totally agree…Distractions only matter when we are forcing ourselves to do things that we need to do not those that we want to do!

    • Distractions are probably our subconscious telling us NOT to focus for a change, because what youre doing isnt interesting/compelling/meaningful anymore :P Whats funny is we tend to avoid distractions and power on anyway, in the bargain miss out on all the signs

  2. I recently watched a documentary called “Happy”. It’s a psychologist’s study of what actually makes people happy, many things contrary to what we all think (you should watch it if you can find it). Among the four or five essential ingredients for a happy life that he mentioned, one of them, was experiencing “flow”. And what you describe here is just what he was talking about. About “experiencing flow” or “being in the zone” — of being deeply involved in an activity just for the sake of the activity with no strings attached. That this makes people truly happy. I think it’s great that you’re experiencing it.

    Interestingly, after “Happy”, I watched the documentary “Jiro dreams of sushi”, just because it sounded interesting, and the very next day, I saw your post about that documentary on your blog! I thought that was a ridiculous coincidence! :) Jiro *totally* experiences the “flow” :) It sounds like he doesn’t even take a vacation (or feel the need to take one!).

    • Must fish this one out. Its reassuring tht there is a ‘thing’ that i am experiencing. And jiro is totally in there living every moment to the T. Reminded me of my grand dad so much!

      Abt needing holidays — would it be really rich to tell you my plans of europe leh and what not have really sort of gotten forgotten?

  3. I guess we don’t know about the “thing” because we rarely see people around us experiencing it :) AAAAAND guess what — BOTH the documentaries made me think of your grand dad!! :) What can I say – what a rich life, really.

    And hahahaha :D about your forgotten holiday plans :P

  4. If you enjoy it your don’t feel the need for distractions, obviously :-) So good to know that you have found a ‘HAPPY’. For me it’s when I’m reading or writing, the whole world recedes and if I’m pulled out of it I feel like I’m emerging from an underwater swim. Dramatic, I know, but there’s no other way to describe it.

  5. OMG, i was nodding all throughout. I am serving my notice at work… and this is exactly how i feel. Distracted. All the time. But luckily, just a week more to go ;) yay
    Feels good to know that there are others like me.
    I am still trying to find out ‘my calling’, something that will consume me totally.. but what the heck, its evading me :(

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