Ânia Marcos
Ânia Marcos

Can Distractions Keep Us Focused?

When I was a kid, I loved playing Pokemon on my GameBoy Color.

My mom never minded letting me play to my heart’s content, as long as I had good grades, did my homework correctly and went to bed on time.

One day she caught me playing without having done my part of the deal. She took my GameBoy for the weekend and explained to me why responsibility matters:

“It’s not about doing what I ask as it is about developing healthy habits so you can grow into a responsible adult and do what you want with your life. If you do your work first, then you have all the time in the world to play.”

I never played Pokemon before finishing my work again.

I Love Watching Anime And Playing Games.

It’s part of who I am. I had an empty, sad feeling I couldn’t put into words after going through a stage in my life where I dropped these elements completely.

That eventually led to a burnout. After neglecting those aspects of my life for too long, I couldn’t focus on my work. All I wanted was to consume the magic I was missing!

That’s how I realized that I couldn’t just stop doing what I loved since I was a kid, no matter how much I enjoy my job or my stories. I needed my fuel, and anime and gaming are great creative refills for me.

As always, the key is in the balance.

Nowadays, I leverage my distractions the way my mother made me leverage my Pokemon playing time when I was a kid: get your work done and done well. Then, take a breather.

Do you want to play a game? What if you work on your thumbnails until noon? Then you can take the break to complete one quest, or cap at 30 minutes. Had a good work day? Awesome! Let’s celebrate by watching one episode of your favorite show afterward!

If distractions were a timed and controlled reward, wouldn’t that help you focus and do more of what matters the most?

Oh, look, I finished this week’s blog post! Maybe it’s time for one anime episode before bed… 😉

6 Comments

  1. Edge - 5 months ago

    Such a great post, Ânia!

    I’m in a stage right now where I’m feeling really productive with my art and have been working towards a lot of goals, but I’ve not found time lately for a lot of the non-art things (gaming, mostly) that also make me happy.

    I’ve stared to notice my mixed feelings of missing that element in my life, while having some guilt about taking breaks just to have unrelated fun… This is a really helpful reminder of how important those pauses can be!

    • aniamarcos - 5 months ago

      Thank you, Edge!

      I think that as long as you’re feeling happy and fulfilled, you don’t *have* to do anything differently – every person works in a different way <3 Sometimes we go through seasons and that's fine too!

      Do you remember when you first realized you wanted to be an artist? For me, the best realizations and ideas came in moments of fun! 😀

  2. Annamari - 5 months ago

    Great post, Ania! I had Gameboy Color too with The Pokemon Yellow edition when I was young, and I looooved it so much! I could play for it the whole day.
    But I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore. I get bored in an hour 🙂 That is actually a good thing… I can’t play games for too long before I feel like I need to do something productive. And after enough of productivity I need something different again.

    And the fun part is that our brains work 14 000x times faster in the subcounscious level compared to our active thinking! So when you distract yourself from the subject that you’re actually trying to tackle, you’re letting your super-brain do it’s job :))

    • aniamarcos - 5 months ago

      I love what you just said, Annamari! And I can relate to that so much 😀
      It’s really amazing how a balanced work-distraction routine can be so healthy <3
      Do you set yourself a timer, or do you decide on what you're doing as you go?
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment 🙂

  3. Neru - 5 months ago

    Wow. I can relate to the empty sad feeling. At one point, which I had to even Relearn recently, I lambasted myself for reading/manga and anime. Creative fuel is like food. It fuels our day. Every day. I’m a very cranky and listless person when I’m hungry 🤣 Our brains neef distrsctions or rather, something else it isnt tired of! Ha ha!
    Yes. We shouldn’t reward laziness at all.

  4. aniamarcos - 5 months ago

    Thank you, Neru! I really like how you put it: creative fuel is like food! <3 So true!

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