10 Things I Find Distracting

As I mentioned in 10 things to think about when writing articles, I have been writing here at LockerGnome for the past two months or so. During that time I’ve written articles about a wide variety of subjects that are both directly about technology and the processes of using technology. Here’s one that can be applied to the use of technology — or just your average daily life. I’m going to share my top 10 things that I find distracting.

10 Things I Find Distracting


I’ve been using music to help time speed by for, at least, six years. During that time I’ve found that certain types of music make time slow to a glacial drip and some don’t slow time down or speed it up significantly. I listen to pretty much anything, though there are genres that I won’t listen to purely because they give me a headache. But the fact is that I find most music distracting — especially when I can hum or sing along with the words.


I get two or three emails a day and I do tend to get distracted by them purely because my phone always goes off when I’m trying to write or brainstorm for an article. I don’t have the ability to just leave the email or iMessage or whatever it is alone and focus on the article I’m writing or brainstorming for. I have to read it or even look at the title, then delete the email. I have found no way past this, so I find my phone a distraction, too.


If I leave Skype on, it is even more distracting than Music and Phone combined! This is caused by the same thing that makes my phone a distraction. I would turn my phone off or put it on silent, but I’d never forgive myself if anything important happened and I missed it. However, I can turn Skype off without a second thought. The important people on my Skype all have my phone number should they need me in an emergency, anyway.


In my case, I don’t mean eating food. I am chief cook and bottle washer in my household, so I’m the one expected to cook. I usually put out dinner at 5 p.m. because that’s when it’s expected. So the distraction comes during the time I’m either working on my first article or on my second. Why is this distracting? I have to break my train of thought at 4 p.m. and start thinking about what I’ve to cook. Tonight, in case anyone is interested, it’s chili con carne.


This is a strange one; I’m not gonna lie. When I’m writing one article, I frequently get ideas for other articles, and this causes me to stop and address them. If I don’t, I’ll forget them, and if I do, I find that I’m not as focused on the article at hand as I’d like to be. As a result, I often wind up rewriting half of it because I’m not as “in the zone” as I was before the distraction and I need to approach it from an angle different from the original.


I find my room distracting because of the way it’s set up. I am doing most of my writing while sitting/lying on by bed. This is less than ideal for promoting wakeful thoughts, as you can imagine. I do intend to move into the current spare room and turn it into a small office or even buy a shed with Wi-Fi access and power so that I have a private space to work.


As many of you know, I do enjoy playing games, and Minecraft is the game I play the most. I have a couple of servers that I visit on a fairly frequent basis, and that can get quite distracting when I’m trying to brainstorm an article and all my brain can think about is building something out of redstone or trying to build a trap with pistons and the like.


I do find Twitter to be quite a distraction when I’m trying to get work done. Although I don’t tweet all that much, my Twitter handle is @thisdamnscots if you’re interested. I am more interested in the people I follow and what they have to say. I will even tweet the odd funny/sarcastic reply to the people I’m following. I feel compelled to get into tweeting more, but I do recognize it as a distraction.


I must be one of a small few who can spend hours and hours on end watching YouTube videos. When writer’s block strikes, I can fool myself into thinking that I’ll just watch this one video and I’ll get right back to work. An hour or so later, I still have writer’s block and I’ve lost an hour of time that I should have spent brainstorming or writing.

Just Being Me

I am my biggest distraction. I am well-versed in the art of procrastination. It’s not that I don’t want to do things; I am just no good at starting things. Everything else just seems more important. I’ll sit here trying to think of an article, but I’ll remember that I’ve got to update my website, touch up my Minecraft server, deal with the bills, buy stuff for birthdays due, and other such things. I suppose it means that I am my own worst enemy when I’m trying to work.

How about you? What are the wicked distractions that haunt your desire to be productive?

CC licensed Flickr image by TORLEY

Article Written by

John “Scotsman” McKinlay is a 25-year-old autistic living in Glasgow, Scotland. He has been an online presence since 1998, but has only recently found that his voice and writing skills could bring him into the world of blogging and podcasting -- with a bit of YouTube on the side. He joined the ranks of LockerGnome back in March of 2012 and has been warmly received both by the LockerGnome staff and by you lovely ladies and gentlemen of the LockerGnome audience.

  • Daniel Mraz

    2-3 emails a day? I get that an HOUR!!!!!

    • xinu

      i get that in 10 mins ;).

      • http://twitter.com/ThisDamnScots John McKinlay

        Chris probably gets them in 10 seconds 😛

  • Timmy

    As a writer and a programmer I think you need to think more about your articles. This is just awful. I don’t like to pour scorn on all achievement but really? You manage to break the key rule of writing articles making something neither interesting or funny.

  • Cameron Ryan

    I get about 19 e-mails a day, 4-5 actual people and other just things I’m signed up for or newsletters (like The Lockergnome Daily Report).

  • http://twitter.com/purpleswirlarts Nancy Creighton

    I’m going to show my age here… I used to watch Dick Cavett on his late night talk show (I never did like Johnny) and Dick’s primary identity is that of a writer. One night he was talking about having to write for the show, and doing all kinds of reading instead — including reading every word on the cereal boxes. Yeah, it was funny, but also so true.

    However, I’ve learned that used well, distractions serve a purpose. They engage the forefront of my mind while the back of my mind solves a problem or tries to decide what to do next. Once the answer comes to me, it’s easy to leave the distraction and get back to work. My primary distraction these days? Klondike.

    • http://my.opera.com/geekgirlfri/blog/ Melinda P

      By “Klondike” I sincerely hope you mean solitaire instead of my first thought, ice cream bars! :)

  • http://twitter.com/benwatkinsart Ben Watkins

    I agree with all of these happen to me to -.- ads on the side of this post distracted me from a post about being distracted LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Venter/673925809 Jason Venter

    As someone who works from home and also takes care of the household meals, I eliminated the meal distraction by creating a weekly menu. That can add hours of productivity to each week, for sure.

  • http://my.opera.com/geekgirlfri/blog/ Melinda P

    When my phone isn’t distracting me with calls, texts, emails, or game notifications, my children, my house, and my own brain take up the slack. I oscillate between foggy brain & hyper focus regularly.

    “What do you mean, I don’t have ADH… Look a butterfly!” :)