I am working towards ordination within my denomination. Part of that process involves writing a personal doctrinal statement about my beliefs on topics like God, salvation and the end of the world. I haven’t been in school for four years and I had forgotten how easy it is to get distracted from a paper or any type of homework. Here are some nerdy distractions that have been preying on me.
How can anyone be expected to choose homework or writing a paper over video games? Writing a paper involves sitting at a keyboard and trying to stretch 500 words’ worth of ideas into 1,000 words. Playing video games involves holding a controller and stimulating all five senses; hearing, touch and sight are stimulated by the game itself while smell and taste are stimulated by the pizza rolls, Cheetos and Mt. Dew. The advent of online gaming has made video games even more distracting. When you completed World 8 in the original Super Mario Bros., the game was over and work on the paper could continue. Now, with online multiplayer, the game never ends. Bowser was eventually defeated, but there is a never-ending stream of 8th graders and frat boys to shoot in Call of Duty. I’d like to write my paper but that 13-year-old just killed me three times in a row with a shotgun and I have to exact my swift and violent revenge.
The last time I wrote a paper Facebook was only open to college students and MySpace hadn’t yet become a punch line. Facebook and Twitter have provided an unthinkable amount of distractions to the completion of my paper. Why would anyone want to spend time actually writing a paper when they could more easily complain about writing that paper in 140 characters or less? Seriously, I can’t fathom how students get any work done these days. Facebook and Twitter sing a sirens’ song that is impossible to resist. Facebook and Twitter are so distracting that people won’t even know when Jesus returns until he pops up in a Twitpic or someone changes their status to, “Dude…Jesus just returned. I’m in so much trouble. lol.”
Believe it or not, cleaning was one of my biggest distractions when I was in college and seminary. I wanted to avoid my homework so badly that I would resort to cleaning my room. I never really cared about cleaning my room until there was something I wanted to do even less. And cleaning isn’t as unproductive as video games or Facebook, so I was able to convince myself that I was actually doing the right thing. The key to prolonging the process is to create more of a mess than you actually clean. Instead of folding the laundry, decide that every drawer of clothes needs to be reorganized. Instead of picking up those books, movies and CDs, make the decision to combine all media onto one shelf and organize it by name, genre and year released. Also, don’t invite Mary Poppins to help you clean; she is far too efficient.
Even before the Fall work was a part of God’s intention for humanity. We were created to work and be productive even when there are distractions that are pleasing to the eye. But just like Eve should have left the fruit alone and focused on what God had given her to do, we should ignore the distractions and complete the work we’ve been given.
But I am certainly glad that giving into playing video games won’t cause another Fall. If it did I would feel really bad.
What other distractions are there to completing your work?