Distracted raccoon photo by David Selbert for Pexels

What To Do When Unexpected Distractions Try To Ruin Your Day

Distractions of any kind can easily throw your day off. Here’s what to do to stay on track.

Ellen Goodwin
5 min readApr 22, 2022


The loud, determined scratching noises were coming from inside the house. And they weren’t stopping.

That was the scene at 4 a.m. last Thursday as my husband, and I woke up to something crawling in our attic. While we live inside the city limits, we aren’t very far from a wide-open park that leads right into a canyon, so on any given night, it’s not unusual for our backyard to be a virtual freeway for raccoons, opossums, and skunks as they merrily make their way through the neighborhood.

It’s not uncommon to see raccoons walking across the fences between the neighborhood houses or hear them on the roof during their nocturnal ramblings.

But this was different.

This wasn’t a playful woodland creature innocently carousing in the backyard. Whatever was in our attic sounded like an elephant moving around above our bedroom.

Two sleepless hours later, I was poking my head into the attic, which might be all of three feet tall at its highest point. I wasn’t about to climb into the attic to find out what kind of animal had taken up residence there.

If I found it, what was I going to do? Tell it sternly, in my best authoritative voice, to leave?


The only two goals of my semi-fearful attic checkout were to 1) find out how this animal, whatever it was, got into the attic and 2) put a motion-activated light up there to scare it away. (This is your first clue that I am not the one to call on when dealing with uninvited animal guests.)

My first goal was quickly achieved as my flashlight revealed a raccoon-sized hole chewed through the attic siding. Knowing that raccoons don’t outsource their chewing of siding, in all probability, our uninvited guest was a raccoon.

Next, I positioned the motion-activated lamp facing the raccoon-sized hole. I thought it would startle the raccoon any time it left to find food and water and actively convey that it wasn’t welcome in our attic.



Ellen Goodwin

Productivity Consultant, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Co-host, Author of DONE: How To Work When No One Is Watching. Learn more at Ellen@EllenGoodwin.com