Help for information overload and the chronically distracted. – This post may contain affiliate links.
Help for Information Overload and the Chronically Distracted
Last week I ended my first ever Daniel Fast. It was a 10 day fast that we did corporately as a church. The food was hard, but it wasn’t the most challenging part for me. I’ve eaten pretty healthily on and off for almost a year now. Spending months without any processed food or caffeine. I am a big animal protein eater normally but love some beans too. So, it was ok. Plus I felt it was a free pass to eat as many sweet potatoes as I wanted.
Can you tell me – How many sweet potatoes are too many? Hmmm…best not to evaluate that too much! Lol.
Leading up to the fast, I felt a pulling on my spirit that I needed to “fast” something else too. Something that was causing me some trouble. Information…and my phone.
I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed in the last couple of months. Information overload. I love learning new things. I follow a lot of wonderful people. Business people, health & fitness people, Christian leaders, self-development people. Wonderful people who have information to give and I want to know it.
Here’s the problem. I was gathering and collecting and noting so much information, but I wasn’t really finishing any of it. Or applying the things that I already know.
I was left with a mind always looking for the next thing and feeling guilty and overwhelmed by all the things I already had floating around in my brain. This does not create an environment for peace. Instead, it’s one that causes a constant brain strain which was leading to small continuous headaches.
This also means I haven’t been concentrating well. My body is in a moment but my mind isn’t present. It’s busy circling information and thinking about all the things I still need to learn or do.
It’s so easy to get caught up in Social Media. I feel like we hear and read about the troubles of social media all the time. But the trap is real! The need to have your phone next to you at all times. Clicking the home button for no reason, except to see if there are any new notifications.
It sounds so silly typing it out. Like “get ahold of yourself.” You may not know this about me, but I can very easily have the attitude of “suck it up buttercup.” I grew up with a determination to “survive” and “make it.” A toughness. Then I worked in the ER for 6 years, and the tough just get tougher. So, it can be hard to admit when something as silly as a phone feels like it has taken over my unconscious mind.
Let’s just get really honest for a second. When you blog or write or use social media in a way other than sharing pictures for your family, it’s hard not to wonder what people have to say about your words or the things you share. I don’t spend hours each week planning, creating, and writing out social media to then not care if people like it. You care about reaching people and encouraging them. So, you care about the notifications, the likes, the comments.
Is it wrong?
Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible to me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. [brought under it’s power, allowing it to control me.] 1 Corinthians 6:12
Is it wrong? Like Paul says, it’s permissible. But, for me – right now, it is not beneficial.
Is there something in your life that is permissible but not beneficial? Does it have a power over you?
Information overload from the articles, facebook live, podcasts, Youtube, Instastories. All the places where I’m just trying to know more. Noise always playing in my ear. Multitasking with a podcast as I’m cooking dinner or breakfast, cleaning house, or folding laundry. Voices, words, noise, playing all the time and I’m a person that loves quiet. Doing those things repetitively for months and months. I couldn’t even sit down on the floor and play with my kids and shut my brain off.
My brain is constantly moving. Thinking about ideas, something I want to learn, things I need to do, courses I need to finish. I couldn’t be present with my kids or my husband or my life because my mind wasn’t used to being quiet. It was always collecting.
I think we could all agree that we want to live an intentional life and be present. Present in our own lives, in the lives of our kids, with our husbands our families.
Let’s look at the definition of intentional – done on purpose, deliberate. You can’t be deliberate and distracted at the same time.
What about present? I want to be present with the people that I love. Present is – to be in a particular place, occurring now. One synonym is available. Can you really be available if you’re distracted? If your body is in a particular place but your mind is off somewhere else, you’re only partially present. You can not be distracted by information coming in or social media and be intentional, present, and available in your own life to the people that you love.
Undistracted and Undivided
I found these two words on, The Wholehearted Home, and I can’t stop thinking about them. These are the words I kept repeating to myself during the Daniel Fast everytime my hand would reach for the phone or I was dying to listen to a podcast while cooking instead of listening to the kids talk back and forth.
Undistracted and Undivided. This is how I want to live my life. This fits in so perfectly with my word of the year. If I am undistracted and undivided, can I not enjoy my life more? I’ll actually be available to my life, my children, my husband, the memories we are making at this very moment.
I’m really liking definitions of these common words so we can really appreciate the meaning.
I was living life Distracted – unable to concentrate because one’s mind is preoccupied. Inattentive. Absentminded. Faraway. In a world of one’s own.
Every one of those synonyms describes me…
I was living life Divided – separate, separated into parts, cut up, disagree or cause to disagree, disunite, drive apart.
I was distracted and divided. Overwhelmed by information and social media. Unable to enjoy my children, my day, or my own life.
Are you distracted or divided by anything? Maybe it’s not your phone or information overload. Maybe by your work? A hobby that you have? Worrying about your past or future?
Help for the Distracted and Divided
How do we change this?! Is there any hope for my mind that will not shut off and just be…I just want to be.
During the Daniel Fast, I didn’t listen to any new information. Anything that I’d already committed to I continued to work on, but I didn’t listen to any podcast or watch Youtube videos. I only checked my social media for the blog and limited it to twice a day from the computer, instead of my phone.
Those 10 days of fasting didn’t really make a big difference in my ability to be intentional and be present. Those 10 days did make it very evident that I have a problem. I want peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding found in Philippians 4:7.
Jesus commands us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
We have to have a mind that is undistracted and undivided so we can love God with all we have. The clutter in my mind is hindering my relationship with the Father…and that hurts.
Help for Information Overload and the Chronically Distracted
I can’t give you a 5 step plan to solve the problem of being chronically distracted. I’m in the thick of it. I can tell that it is going to take time to retrain my brain and clear the clutter of my mind.
Here’s what I know. I want to be undistracted and undivided so I can live intentionally, be present in my life and for God. So, I have to set up some limits.
2 Limits to Decrease Distraction
1 – No more New Information
I will not sign up for anything new until I finish all the courses and books that I currently have. Those things left undone weigh on our minds, and when we continue to gather new information that’s more and more things that are weighing on us and making us feel guilty and overwhelmed.
2 – Time Limits
I will only be on social media 3 times per day. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes max.
This will allow me to reply to your comments and check in on the groups that are important to me.
I need to use social media for the blog. I want to hear from you, to know what you need. That’s why I’m here at 5 am writing to you and praying for you all! I’d love if you commented below and share what you’d like to see on the blog or email me – Jessica@overwhelmedtofulfilled.com – I’m here!
How can you apply this to your life?
I know that my struggle may not match yours or where you are in your life. But I hope that you will pray and ask the Lord if you are distracted or divided by anything in your life right now? If so, what limits can you put in place to help with those distractions so you can find peace, intention, and be present?
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