Multitasking today is a lot more complex than it used to be. Our grandmothers might have multi-tasked by getting a good meal on the table while doing laundry and watching the kids. But today we do the same thing while also texting, planning a work meeting, and checking email.
With so many competing distractions, our stress rises. We can become cranky and unfocused.
Now throw in a bunch of less obvious distractions — the kind that add to our stress without us even knowing it. I call these tolerations. Tolerations are little, but persistent distractions that we simply try to ignore, usually around the house, but also at work and in our cars.
Tolerations are things like a smudge on the wall, a messy counter top, a loose cabinet, or an ugly piece of art. You see these things out of the corner of your eye, in plain sight, but ignored — tolerated.
We usually don’t notice tolerations until we remove them. Then we breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why we didn't do that sooner. One reason that staging works in homes for sale is that the tolerations are missing. Buyers walk into a clean slate. They have a subconsciously refreshing sense of no distractions.
Try this: Just sit in one room of your house and look around. Make a list of everything you see that is out of place, torn, cluttered, ugly, etc.
Then eliminate one distraction at a time with no time pressure to add to your stress. Take a week, a month, even a year. Notice how you feel each time you remove something from your peripheral attention.