Distracted by Coffee

Each day that we are fortunate enough to wake up, we have a choice. Work towards our dreams, or avoid them. It seems an easy enough thing to do; pick what we want and move towards it. However, many of us, myself included, choose the latter. We inexplicably select distraction.

This behavior is evident in the amount of time we spend on social media, watching television, and doing things that offer little solace to our souls. We’d like to think that success is the be all and end all, yet, it is the pursuit that often keeps us going.

Common synonyms for “done” are dead, gone, in the past. I see it as simple as “nothing left to do.” While the struggle to accomplish a goal can be challenging, the challenge can still be a worthy opponent. Without it, what remains is boredom. For those of us who don’t like to fight, we may look for any excuse not to take on the challenge of even pursuing our dreams.

Not all of us see ourselves as Time-Management people. That is fine. You do not have to be super disciplined. However, if you do not set aside at least a portion of your time to work on your passions no one else is going to do it for you.

For me, it requires getting up early. Before everyone else and jumping right into “it.” Whatever “it” may be for the day. If too many hours pass between when I start, and I let myself get distracted, then I have a tough time getting back on track.

Thankfully, Apple has just released a new feature called Screen Time, to help us all monitor how we, and our kids, waste time on our cell phones.

Screen Time helps users track how distracted they are by their iPhone

It measures App Usage time, Pickup time and Notification Interuptions. Even if you do not use an iPhone, it is nice to see the issue of distraction being brought to the forefront. Today, I want to look at some of those features and share with you what I have learned. But, first I need to grab a cup of coffee.

You may not be able to tell, but I just left to grab a cup of coffee. The more astute among you may point out that I just told you I was going to do so. However, you don’t know how long it took me to get the aforementioend beverage.

Some of you may be saying, what’s the big deal? How long does it take to grab a quick cup of java? That’s not a distraction, it’s an entirely acceptable quick break. Grab a quick cup and get back to work.

Others may be wondering how I didn’t already have a cup by my side, before I started writing. Insisting that they could not even begin to function without that first cup. I used to be that way. But I have found that half-asleep is a great way to connect with my subconscious thoughts. In that spirit, I try to work for at least an hour before my first cup.

For me, I know there is a risk when I go to make coffee. A risk that I will get distracted. Sure, if I didn’t tell you what happened, you would assume, I grabbed a quick cup and jumped right back to my keyboard. The words continuing to flow as if I was barely away. However, in the spirit of honesty, let me outline what getting a simple cup of coffee entails.

Since I have never taken the time to learn how to set the over night, coffee-timer I need to start from scratch each day. But, first I agonize over making instant or a small two cup carafe. Overthinking the ecological benefits of instant coffee vs. the taste and preference of drip. The words, “Think Global, Act Local” will appear in my head. Am I doing my part? Am I recycling enough? If I don’t buy organic will an Angel still get its wings everytime a bell rings? Can I trust studies sponsored by Nestle, makers of Instant Coffee?

Next, I spend several minutes waffling between a brown paper cone filter or the no filter option. The cone filter feels wasteful when making coffee for just me. Then again, the filterless option will require more water to clean it. So, in reality, which one is more wasteful or hurtful to the environment? More importantly, did I get an answer to that Angel’s wings thin yet? I should Google that.

But, first I Google coffee filters. It’s the third time this month. Well, two and one half-time. That is because I forgot the results the last time I checked. I was distracted when a video of Dave Grohl and Trombone Shorty playing Nirvana’s In Bloom popped up.

Great Video Terrible Sound on the Saxophones

Damn, that was fun.

But, I then I remember not being able to hear the saxophones. They were working hard, but they were inaudible. Recognizing that, I spend a few minutes on YouTube to see if anyone else captured a better recording of it. I find a much better audio recording, but the video quality is not high. I make a note to grab both copies so I can replace the audio from the first with the sound from the second to enjoy later.

Meh-Video, but much better sound for the Sax Players! I’ll get to merging them later.

Once that’s done I go back to my Mesh vs. Paper research. Calling it “research” makes it feel less like a distraction and more like I am doing it for the greater good. I find an article stating that mesh filters raise cholesterol. I think to myself; that must be why I have high cholesterol, I am an environmentalist! I’ll have to tell my doctor the next time I see her. I should be getting a medal, not be feeling guilty for taking a statin.

I decide to use brown paper cone filters every other day, to do my part. I begin to consider myself a one-person Patagonia. Then I think how the phrase “brown paper cone filters” sounds like it could be a Frank Zappa lyric. But, it probably would have had a totally different meaning in one of his songs. I must find out if he ever used it. Again, Google to the rescue. Answer: No, he did not. I then wonder what type of coffee the great Mr. Zappa preferred. My “research” reveals some believe it was Folgers, while others suggest Maxwell House. True fans, suggested simply “Dark Water;” I suspect from the 29-second song of the same name, from his album, Civilization Phaze III.

All 29 Seconds of Dark Water Glory

I think the best suggestion was something called Continental Blend from a specialty shop in Hollywood. Mystery solved I can get back to work.

Finally, I start the coffee maker, choosing to make today as a paper-free filter day. Cholesterol be damned. With nothing better to do, I check the notifications on my phone. Respond to some emails. Read the “Top News Stories of the Day.” Followed by 11 more related stories on topics that I am not all that interested in. Realize I forgot to start the coffee maker. Turn it on. Read two more unrelated articles. Check out a short video recommended, “just for me!” See the sun starting to come up. Head upstairs to wake up my daughters, Sophia, and Nya for school. Help them get breakfast. Check my latest notifications while they eat. Notice I still have not won the lottery. Remind myself, “You cannot win if you don’t play.”

I then pull out the turkey, ham, and roast beef, from the fridge, to make everyone’s lunches. At some point, the girls changed their lunch preferences. One would only eat turkey, the other only ham. I like Roast Beef when I’m feeling naughty, so hence the deli in the fridge. At some point, the girls switched. At the moment, I cannot remember who likes what. Did I mention I haven’t had my morning coffee yet? So I leave them all on the counter for them to figure out after breakfast. Then it occurs to me; I promised the younger one, “the greatest sandwich ever created.” I know I will get reprimanded for it, but I put the lunch meat away and begin to work on said sandwich.

One ingredient is peanut butter. I think about using Almond butter, but, she’ll know the difference. She always knows. So, I resort to opening a fresh thing of peanut butter. It’s organic, so at least she’s making sure Clarence gets his wings. It takes me about 20 minutes of stirring and grinding to turn the play-dough like paste and oil into something that resembles peanut butter.

Making of the Magic

When I finish, I bring out the coup de grâce. FLUFF! It has a whopping four ingredients. I conveniently forget the first three and focus on the fourth, egg whites. Clearly, Fluff gets a bad rap. Egg whites are totally healthy. No high-cholesterol for my kids.

I then clean up the evidence. Returning to the fridge to eat a couple of pieces of lunch piece to help stage the scene. The peanut butter Fluff sandwich is not on the list of mom-approved lunches. In fairness, mommy-Beth did buy the Fluff. She had to know I’d get up to no good with it. The fluff was a consolation prize for Nya since her sister spent last week celebrating homecoming.

Eaglecrest High School Homecoming 2018

We stayed home, watched Black Panther and ate ice cream, Magic Shell and Fluff. I think we know who got the better deal.

In her Defense — She had seen it before, and it was late. Plus there may have been tryptophan in the Fluff!

The fluff was a bit of a bribe to cheer up a subtly pouty kid. Our decision to try and cheer her up with sugar made me think about how my mom used to attempt to be “fair” to my sister and I growing up. For example, when it was my birthday, my sister got presents too because she was younger and didn’t understand. It made sense to me. Here in the present, I begin thinking I should tell my mom, how I finally understood her reasoning. Even if I do risk an “I told you so.”

That was until I remembered what happened a month later on my sister’s birthday, the day I didn’t get any presents. My Mom’s reason? “Because I was older and DID know better.” I countered with a solid, “Huh? We all know girls mature faster than boys, so I should get gifts too.” This argument was thwarted, as she pointed out if I knew that then I was smart enough to understand why I would not be getting any consolation gifts. Mom’s are sneaky that way.

I eventually get the girls out the door. It’s now an hour later. I decide to go for a stroll to get rejuvenated. However, instead of clearing my head, I get engrossed in an Audiobook and forget about what I was writing about before my walk. I walk a little longer to get in my 10k steps for the day, knowing I’ll mostly be sitting the rest of the day. Then I get home. Stretch, so I don’t stiffen up. At my age, you can’t be too careful.

I start to head upstairs, before remembering that I made coffee. I head back down to discover it is once again cold. I make more; sticking with the filterless coffee option. Again, feeling #Patagonia-Proud for not wasting a filter. I decide to get in the shower, while the coffee brews. I think to myself, 3 cups a day? I really should try to cut down. I again, try to remember the point of my article, while the water warms up. I decide to listen to some music to get pumped up. After drying off, I head back to my computer. I stare at the screen, trying to reconnect with the words. They do not come.

I again check my messages. Still no lottery notices. I decide to clean out my email. I start deleting messages. But, first file the ones that I absolutely cannot afford to miss, even if they are seven months old. I again remember that I made coffee. I walk downstairs. Greeted once again with cold brown water. Because it is morning no more, I feel that my morning inspiration has passed. I decide to make my lunch. Oooh, perhaps, peanut butter and Fluff. I can save the almond butter for another day. After all, I’m all for Angels getting their wings!

And THAT is how one cup of coffee threw off my entire day. Now, what was I saying?

Oh yes, Apple’s new Screen Time Feature. It’s excellent. You can track your phone usage, as well as your kids. However, it does have some shortcomings. For instance, it does not factor in how much of your Candy Crush App time is spent in the bathroom. That’s not distracting, that’s a solid example of efficient Multi-Tasking!

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Joe Trey (Adventure Hermit)

Joe Trey (Adventure Hermit)

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Infinitely Curious Explorer, Husband/Dad. Don’t Do ANYTHING! Do SOMETHING!!!