My Leash

My Leash. Or How to Create a Habit.

My dog has ADD. Well, not just my dog, most dogs probably.

A dog uses his gifted sense of smell to discover the world around him, learning about every creature that previously passed this way. My dog, however, gets so immersed in this discovery, she often becomes distracted from what I’ve deemed is her primary purpose: relieving herself. Ours is a populous neighborhood for the canine species, so virtually every blade of grass she sniffs is saying hello in the way that doggies do.


Most of the time I don’t mind when she stops to smell, well, not roses. But, being human and therefore believing I am important and have important things to do, I sometimes prefer that she simply get on with her business, so I can get on with my own. So I give a gentle tug on her leash as a way to remind her that, hey, you’ve got a job to do here.

Recently I realized that I, too, become distracted by a variety of “scents” over the course of my day. I work in marketing, particularly the online variety, so I spend most of my day in front of a computer. And, as everyone knows, the computerized world is full of distractions — games and tweets and blogs and “oh my” — that call to us like sirens to their rocky shores. Add a smartphone to the mix and, let’s face it, it’s a wonder I get any actual work done at all.

So I’ll sometimes get to what should be the end of my day and realize that, no, I still have a job to do here. The deadlines don’t disappear just because I fell down a Twitter or Candy Crush rabbit hole. And, while walking my dog, I was struck by the idea that I, too, could use a leash, a gentle tug that reminds me to get on with my business, whatever that may be.

So, for the next 66 days (the supposed average number of days it takes to create a habit) I’m trying out a couple of apps that I hope will serve as my virtual leash and, if not prevent me from chasing every scent, pull me back from them as needed.

The apps are as follows:

  • HabitBull – a simple app that allows me to enter a repeating task and then mark each day whether or not I did it.
  • StayOnTask – another simple app that virtually looks over my shoulder and asks me at random intervals whether or not I’m working.
  • Stop, Breathe & Think – a guided meditation app that I plan to use when I wake, before sleep and as needed throughout my day to reset my brain and help me focus better.

These apps, along with a heavy dose of good tunes, will hopefully combine to make me as productive and focused over the next couple of months as I’ve ever been.

I’ll check back in a couple of weeks with my progress, and maybe even let you in on some of the habits I’m trying to create or break, so please like, follow and subscribe to stay updated.

Namaste.


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