You'd be surprised what happens when you don't pay attention!

Could Distractions Be Costing You?

by Veronica Bowman


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Whether you call it a sign of the times, the current trend, or simply life, distraction is a common factor in almost everyone's life today. There is a lot of information that points to the repercussions that can occur when people are not focused on the task at hand. Some of the problems that can arise from distractions are major. For evidence of this, all you have to do is look at the 2012 National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors (NSDDAB) survey results.

While the following repercussions of distracted living are less extreme than the possibility of loss of life, they do point out how distracted living can adversely affect your budget and your personal relationships. Becoming aware of how costly distractions can be may the motivation you need to transition from distracted living to mindful living.

How often do you see people shopping in department stores or buying groceries while talking on their phone? How often have you done that? When you're talking on the phone, you may be more likely to pick up items on your shopping list without taking time to compare prices. You could also be more susceptible to impulse buying. For example, suppose you see a fantastic display of something you hadn't planned to buy while you're busy chatting away on the phone. Without thinking, you grab the item and put it in your cart. You couldn't hear the voice of your inner frugal shopper (also known as your good judgment) telling you to resist the temptation because you were too distracted by your phone conversation.

We all know that life isn't perfect and we can't always have things precisely the way we want them. However, if you can find a way to shop alone, without the distraction of another adult or your children, you can stay more focused on your shopping list and be attentive to bargains. You will be able to compare prices, check your coupons, and be more likely to resist impulse buys. There is some interesting statistical information regarding shopping with others present and shopping alone.

Another way that distracted living can be denting your budget involves your monthly bill paying habits. If you find yourself multi-tasking and paying bills while you watch television, talk on the phone, help your kids with homework or are engaged in any other distracting activity, you may not notice some of those hidden fees, charges, or errors on your bill. Look for smaller charges that you don't recognize. Also look for even the slightest change in what should be a consistent figure. Often you'll find small changes that add up month after month.

It's not only your credit card statement that you should review carefully each month. You should review every monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual bill you receive that has the potential to be incorrect or have hidden charges that you need to check out carefully. Small amounts of money paid out each month will add up over a period of time. You might be able to save yourself some money by setting aside a time and place that is free of distraction to examine statements and pay your bills.

If you included losing weight or eating healthier as one of your New Year's resolutions, distractions can keep you from achieving success in this area of your life. You can find evidence to support the negative impact distracted eating has on your weight and health at www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037 and http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/4/728.abstract.

Distracted living can cause you to miss out on some good conversation with friends. The lack of your undivided attention can leave your spouse or children feeling neglected or unimportant. Allowing distractions to disrupt your personal time can result in a loss of sufficient rest, less relaxation time, and a disruption of your sleep time. Among the personal goals you have for this year, you might want to consider making living in a state of mindfulness a top priority. Numerous areas of your life can benefit from a reduction of distractions in your daily routine.

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