Living A Distraction Free Month

A few days ago Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) tweeted the following video of Joe Kraus talking about creating a “culture of distraction“. Joe talks about how we are constantly distracted, what we’re losing, and what we can do about it. Something really important happened to me while I was watching the talk…I was captivated by what he was saying, but I really had to fight the urge to not open another browser tab to do something else, I don’t even know what, just something else while I was listening. He had me convinced. I love being in “the zone”, but I hate to admit that it just doesn’t happen that often. I find it incredibly hard to sit and focus.

I’ve searched for “how to be productive” on more than one occasion, and I’ve downloaded programs, tried different products, etc, but they usually don’t make a difference. My problem isn’t not having the tools, it’s not being able to focus. Even just writing this for the past few minutes I’ve received/sent text messages and emails, I’ve had to fight the urge to get up and grab another cup of tea, and I feel like I’m bouncing around.

So here I am, publicly admitting that I have a problem. In an attempt to get to the root of the problem, I’m going to try to have less distractions and live more mindfully for the next 30 days.

My rules:

  • Less browser tabs (I currently have 30 open and that’s a lot less than normal). Maybe no more than 5 (?) at a time.
  • 30 minute walks three times a week  WITH my phone, but without using it.
  • NO using the phone while interacting with people. I try not to do this anyway because I HATE when I’m talking to someone and they start playing with their phone, but this goes for if I’m out somewhere with someone, or at family’s house, even if we aren’t talking at the moment.
  • Make a good effort to do one thing at a time. Pretend like I can only do one task at a time. Drink a cup of tea. Eat a sandwich. Watch a movie. Just one thing at a time.
  • Meditate, even if only a few minutes every day.
  • Write every day. Even if it’s writing about how much I don’t want to be writing.
  • Embrace “gap time”. I will not email/check twitter/whatever while standing in line at the grocery store.
I think this is a slightly harder 30 day trial because the steps aren’t as tangible as “don’t eat meat” or “exercise everyday”, but I will keep brainstorming and working towards it. In the meantime, take 15 minutes out of your day to watch the video below. Do nothing else. It’s interesting, I promise.


Pumpkin & Corn Curry Soup

This post is part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Click on the Back and Forward links at the bottom of the page to go directly to the previous and next recipes. =)

I *love* this soup. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like (I like it HOT), it’s pretty much fool proof, and it’s delicious. Honestly, I was never a huge pumpkin fan. That was until I made this soup and pumpkin dumplings one year for Thanksgiving. This almost tastes like a creamy potato soup or a corn chowder. It makes good lunch by itself, and a great soup to dip (vegan) grilled cheese in.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1+ tablespoon red curry paste
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1 15-oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 can roasted corn kernels
1/2 cup Jalapeno- Cilantro Salsa*
1 cup vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can coconut milk, as needed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
cilantro, to taste
1 teaspoon agave
lime juice, to taste


*The original recipe called for jalapeno-cilantro salsa, but I buy jalapeno salsa and mix in cilantro paste to taste.




I like to use at least 1 tablespoon of curry paste, but you can add as much as you like. Since curry pastes can have varying degrees of heat, try adding as directed on the packaging. For this one I used 2 tablespoons and it had a good kick.


Curry paste


Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-low heat and add the garlic, cumin and curry paste; stir for one minute.

Curry paste, garlic, olive oil


Add the pumpkin, fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, roasted corn, and salsa. Stir to combine.


Corn and pumpkin


Add the broth. Heat through to a simmer, and add the coconut milk. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, cilantro and agave. Heat through gently and bring to a slow simmer.



Taste test and add the fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor. Stir. Add more spice if you need more heat; add more agave and/or coconut milk if you need less heat.



This soup goes great with Cheddar Bay Biscuits. For this meal, we decided to dip in some homemade crusty bread and grilled cheese made with Daiya mozzarella.

Vegan Fling   Virtual Vegan Potluck   Foodie McBooty