Good idea, Babalon.
What distractions present themselves when you engage in devotional work (prayer,communion, ritual, meditiation)? How do you attempt to overcome or prevent these distractions?
Distractions? ALL kinds! In my prayer rule, the canonical prayers and physical movements help set the stage, and set my mind and heart in the correct "direction". During the silent repetitions of the Jesus Prayer, however, is when the brain really begins squirming. In my former meditation practice, I learned a strategy called "labeling" thoughts... not fighting them or stifling them, just noticing what they are. I kind of do this habitually if I get sidetracked in prayer. If I note "daydreaming" or "planning" or what have you, I say a Jesus Prayer out loud and make the sign of the cross, and return to where I was (using a prayer rope to give myself a certain amount of prayers). If my mind is especially busy and I cannot focus, I will switch from mental prayer to vocal prayer, and may even stand up and do prostrations with each prayer.
Do you feel you've made progress, in the sense of concentration, since you first began practicing/converted?
Yes and no. I can honestly say that over the years, my concentration has generally improved. That said, my concentration has been much, much better in the past when I consistently practiced (something I've failed to do recently).