Rebecca Johnson: Don't Let Your Day Turn Into a Web of Distractions

Management advice from Rebecca Johnson

Sometimes we're all distracted spiders.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of INVISION.

I enjoy getting up early in the morning and walking the dog. You never know what you might find at the park when it is too early for most people to be shuffling around. As I walked past the baseball field, I saw that some busy spiders had turned the metal fence into an art gallery. As someone who has always been fascinated by spider webs, but not necessarily the artists that make them, this was a special treat as most of the little artists were gone, leaving their masterpieces behind.

And masterpieces they were! The sun was coming up, making the perfect lighting. Drops of dew covered each string, highlighting the unique design of each web. The newly-mowed grass on the field provided a background of fresh green hues. As I slowly made my way past each web, I came to one that literally made me laugh out loud. Instead of a beautiful pattern, this web was looked like a plate of spaghetti noodles. I began to contemplate the reasons that this arachnidan artist made such a mess. “Maybe she did not have her coffee yet? Could it be that she just likes to color outside of the lines? Maybe she’s an amateur?”

Suddenly, it hit me that this particular spider was a kindred spirit! She got distracted!

Every morning I wake up with a plan to accomplish so much that the at the end of the day I’ve produced a work of art. The problem is that few of my days are canvas-worthy due to distractions coming at me right and left.

With coffee in hand, I begin each morning with high hopes of completing the growing task list. And then it happens. I open my email to find that the inbox fairy paid a very long visit during the night. After a quick run through, I breathe a sigh of relief that nothing in the box is urgent and start to log off to work on the task list. “I should just go ahead and answer these emails now so that I will have more concentrated time to work on the task list. It should just take a few minutes,” I think. And I begin to reopen each message and draft the replies. Can I make a meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m.? No, I am already booked at that time. Hmmmm ... let me search for an alternate time. Then, I get a text message letting me know that one of my staff is not feeling well. Yikes! Let me see who can take her place. The phone rings, “Good morning, Rebecca. Got a minute?” Forty-five minutes later, I hang up the phone. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, find an alternate time for the meeting. But first, I need to find a replacement for the ill staff member.

And before I know it the day has turned into spaghetti noodles.

REBECCA JOHNSON is an enthusiastic and motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and executive director of GPN. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women in Optical.” Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..