I have a lot of things that I worry about, at a personal, local, national, and global level. All kinds of distracting thoughts about things most of which I do not have control over. It is a major distraction to be lost in thoughts about how bad things are out there in the world, and concerns about how people close to me are also suffering a little for various reasons.
Meditation has helped me get all of this under better control. The basic idea behind what I do is to just get into a comfortable position, and focus on my breathing. Thoughts come, and when they do I let them go by returning to focusing on my breathing.
Eventually there is the idea of replacing focusing on my breathing with what it is that I am working on. Focusing on work in some ways is just like focusing on the breathing, thoughts come, and then they go once I get myself focused back on work.
On a certain spectrum where on one extreme there is someone that does not drink, and on the other extreme is someone that is drinking themselves to death, I was maybe somewhere in the middle. As such it was maybe not that big of a problem for me, but still a big enough problem that it was interfering with other things I would prefer to do with my time.
As of this writing I have went without having a drink for a little over four months. Looking back I can see that drinking was a bit of a distraction. In addition I feel a little more clear headed, and focused with far more important things.
TV was a distraction of mine for a very long time. It was a bit of a problem for me in the past though. Day after day I would sit down and just watch whatever is on not caring if it is any good or not, just to get my mind off of things.
I am glad I seem to have managed to put this one to rest. Where I live now I do not have a TV, and I can say I care to get one as well. If I do ever have one in the future my favorite channel is indeed off.
I am at an age now where playing video games has become a little old for me. I do still find myself wasting time playing one, but more often then not I am more interested in how to go about making one rather than playing one.
What helped me stop is guilt, guilt of wasting time that can be better spent doing something creative. Focusing on this blog, or coding a project, are the only things that help make the guilt go away.
There is also /r/dailyprogramer, thats a great subreddit. I poke my head in now and then, and on the rare occasion try my luck with one of the hard challenges. This is great as I think it does help me understand better where i am as a programmer.
Although there are some great work related subreddits, I do find reddit more of a distraction rather than a tool.
I hate facebook, yet I keep checking it once in a while, maybe I am some kind of masochist. Huge wast of time for the most part, I guess the only thing I get out of it is a sense of connection with other people.
Lucky for me this distraction, like many others, is getting old. yeah! freedom!
I hate phones with a passion, often I just turn the dam thing off completely so I can focus. If it is something important I can get back to them later.