Lost in Distraction: Do you have blinders on?

Clydesdales. The horse in the background looks...

Clydesdales. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Donald asked me a question.  He’s working on a project scheduled to complete in the next 5 weeks.  I started to answer his question.  Then I went on.  I told him about stuff happening in 8, 10, 16 weeks from now.  Don asked a follow-up question … he was confused.  Don was thinking only in terms of the June project.  I screwed up.  I confused him by showing him a picture broader than he was looking for.   The only thing he cared about was the June project delivery.

Don had blinders on.   It was frustrating.  For him.

He was doing exactly what he was supposed to do.  He was focusing on the specific goal we are seeking to accomplish.   I started messing him up by talking about things out of the scope of our goals.

“He’s got blinders on” usually implies someone who can’t see the big picture.  They see a tree for the forest.  They are unable to see context.  We use the expression when we’re frustrated with someone.  They can’t see what we need them to see.

There are a lot of distractions.  Email, IM, drop-bys, text messages, people talking over a cube wall, phone calls, project changes, Facebook, etc.  It’s easy get lost in the distraction.

Too many priorities, too few people.  Juggling what we’ll be doing in 6 months while working on a problem that needs to be solved in 6 minutes.

Horses wear blinders for a reason.  It keeps them focused.  The blinders make it easier for them to manage their emotions.  It makes it easier to go in the right direction when in an environment filled with distractions.  Horses don’t always wear blinders.  Only when it will make them more effective.

I realized I bounce between issues, conversations, problems, and opportunities.  My head and body lurching unpredictably as I try to keep track of it all.  It might not be the most effective way.  I get lost in distraction and get less done.

Sometimes the flight of the bumblebee helps us innovate and find creative solutions.  It doesn’t help when it comes to getting stuff done.  A straight line works best.  The blinders would help me go straight.

Is it time to put blinders on?  We can take them off later.


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