The Five Biggest Distractions At Work

Via The New York Times

1. Hunger

Unless you're a chef--or god-forbid, a bus-boy--you're probably starving all the time at work. Eating is the provides terrific distraction from what you really have to do; snacks are like the edible version of the Internet. Of course we really have to eat, but we're not woodland creatures who need to stuff our cheeks with nuts for the winter. I know that's not going to stop you from gnawing on your desk on those really monotonous days. You might also just be under stress. Bring snacks to work that have been proven to relieve stress: almonds, blueberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli (healthiest vehicle for ranch dressing, am I right guyz?) will all help calm your nerves and quell the beast from within that demands a crunchy sacrifice every other minute.

2. Friends

Usually, we WANT our friends to interrupt our work day. Is it not the greatest news in the world to look at your phone and see your best friend text, "Happy hour?" Sometimes they're the only thing dragging us through our ever-growing to-do lists, at the end of which are invaluable moments spent at a table chatting with them over merlot. Other times, a friend contacting you at work means something is wrong. Being human, they have problems, and since you love your friends, their problems become your problems. Not that they're loading anything on you deliberately, but if you are indeed, friends, it might add a little weight on your shoulders. The good news is that you're not a bad friend if you wait until after work to read the long email, or get in touch over the phone. If it's an emergency, she/he will let you know. Acknowledge that you've heard from them, and get on with your day. With friends, there will always be time for happy hour, even if it's too late to go to the bar.

3. Relationship woes

Dating isn't easy. Everyone wants a prince charming until it comes time to get over/accept the flaws of the person you chose to spend a lot of intimate time with. All too easily we think "There's probably someone who doesn't laugh like a goose, right?" Maybe I'm speaking from personal experience, but I'll bet that thought crosses more minds than you'd think. Though it might suck the drama out of the situation, the truth is that you're not alone. Even those who've been with the same person for five years get annoyed or anxious about the person they go home to after work. Take the time during lunch to vent with a co-worker to be reminded of this. Commiserating on frustration (especially with romance) is good therapy if you do it in moderation.

4. Vacation

Admit it, another thought that occasionally (frequently?) pops in is, When am I going to get OUT of here? The big daddy of these occurrences is the vacation slot. That is not only when you'll be off the clock, but also in a different town or continent. You don't even have to have planned one to think about it. Hell, you don't even necessarily have to want to go on vacation to think about it. Whether it's going, planning to go, or considering the fact that maybe we're working too much, time-off is on the brain. No matter how much we might love our jobs, we all need it. Personally, I find comfort in using this as a goal. Putting extra hours in is like saving up in a time bank. Hard work now, pays off later in the currency of quiet hours.

5. The dreaded, What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life conundrum, and other internal discussions that make us doubt ourselves.

Call me twenty-something, but I want perfection NOW. By "perfection," I of course mean a life that is by all ways fulfilling, thrilling, and lucrative. I want my work to be profound, I want every assignment to excite me, and I want it to make me stupidly wealthy. You don't have to be on the board of MENSA to know life does not work this way. when we're reminded of that, we wish for something better, and the wishing is a mistake. The people who have reached stardom in what they do spent less time wishing, and more time working. Wishing leads to laziness, which begets misery. Misery is the quickest path to the delusion of being owed something without earning it. Instead, work for the day--not the week, or the year--just the day. Later, do some research, talk to successful family members and friends. Learn from their example and invest that knowledge into your happiness. Find comfort in knowing that time travels quicker than we think, and that change is a natural part of life. Don't waste time being anxious about your current job, work hard so that you can later greet the change on the horizon.

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