The topic of distractions came up this weekend. The boys were home from university for the holiday weekend, but although they were here at home, they seemed constantly distracted by their studies. That is to say, it is mid-term time and so they both had a lot of work to do…preparing papers, reviewing, preparing for tests, and so on. That’s what they said, anyway. The thing is, they didn’t actually do any of that. Oh sure, the lap-tops were open, text books and sheets of loose leaf accumulated here and there, index cards were shuffled. But I didn’t see any actual studying or writing going on.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not criticizing. They are both good students, with the marks to prove it. Whatever it is they “do” seems to be working. But it got me wondering about that very human trait of procrastination … fueled by distraction. I recalled that when I was in university, and in the midst of writing a paper (or facing some other deadline) my distraction was house cleaning. Yup! House cleaning…as in: “I’ll write the next section, just as soon as a clean the bathroom. I mean, the bathroom REALLY needs cleaning – right now!” Sometime I fought the urge to clean and sometimes I gave into it. But motivated? Heck yeah! I was driven to it… at that very moment I felt compelled to scrub! The interesting thing is it was the only time I felt so compelled to clean.
I’ve seen their apartment. So I know they haven’t inherited that particular compulsion.
Son #1 pointed out that his distractions are by far more entertaining. There’s YouTube, e-mail, the internet, Facebook, (not to mention the good old XBox) etc., now to tempt otherwise hardworking students. Entertaining….yeah. And infinite, too! But it can’t as productive as a clean shower. Or can it?