It's often the case that we don't think about something until we come face-to-face with it. Case in point: everyday distractions.
Sometime, long long ago (was it in grad school? or during an internship?), I discovered the "survival tactic" of always carrying some paper and a pen with me. A notebook, a legal pad, random scraps from the recycled paper bin---it didn't matter, as long as there was enough space to write, to sketch, to doodle, to compose to-do lists. There's no such thing as a boring meeting when you have these simple tools on hand---it's so easy to check out, to capture your wandering thoughts, and still look engaged. I've written entire tests during boring talks or dull faculty meetings. Or, if you're stuck somewhere waiting for someone, or your flight is delayed and you're sick of reading---voila! Instant entertainment. Just whip out the paper and pen. These low-tech tools have been my salvation from boredom.
The thing is that now I'm so conditioned to distract myself during meetings that when I forget my paper and pen, or when I'm in a setting where I can't for whatever reason take notes, I get bored very easily. I get impatient with the pace of things. I feel trapped and unhappy. But I was not aware of this, until today, when I found myself in this very situation. It surprised me, but also saddened me. Am I really that incapable of sitting still, of concentrating on the moment, of not distracting myself, for a few short hours? Shouldn't I have greater will power than that? Why must I always be distracted?