This post is going to make me seem old fashioned, as if perhaps I whittled it from a corn cob on my porch while watching a slow southern sun give up the fight as night descended upon my farm.

So be it.

I can’t read books on a Kindle or an iPad.

Notice I didn’t say “Don’t like to” or “Don’t want to,” I said, “can’t.”

I physically can’t do it because there are too many exits.

If I have access to the Internet, there’s not a book on the planet that has a shot of getting my undivided attention. If I have access to the Plants vs. Zombies game app I’ll drop a book in a heart beat. If I have the chance to shop for other books that the book I am currently reading referenced, forget it, I’m gone.

I know I can turn off the wifi for an iPad or a Kindle. I can do lots of little tricks that essentially make it as escape proof as a book. But it’s still not enough. There are too many distractions for me to go digital with reading.

Other humans seem capable of pulling this trick off. As I struggle to put my carry on bag on airplanes, weighted heavily with books made of this ancient substance known as paper, I see people casually reading on tablets. They seem at peace with the idea of the digital library. I do not scoff at them. I do not judge them, though they are missing the smell of a real book, something no digital device can ever replace. If anything I am a little jealous of them.

I wish I could read on a Kindle or an iPad, but I can’t. And that is what I am learning focus looks like sometimes. It’s not just coming up with a long list of things you can do, often it’s coming up with a list of things you can’t do.

If I want to focus on what I’m reading, I need paper. I need pages that will not light up with additional distracting bits of live information. I want newsprint on my fingers, not new exits to leave what I am reading.

That’s one way I focus.

How about you?

In a world with more distractions than hours in the day, what’s a boundary or limit you’ve had to put in place?