School started this week. Swim team resumed two weeks ago. Our dog returned from her vacation at grandma’s house. And suddenly as summer ended, the distractions multiplied.
I’m under deadline right now-my focus should be centered on getting words on the page. Not the rust spots on my ginger lilies. Or the aphids that discovered my hibiscus. Or the latest Cool Whip recipe I found (confession: I’ve been on a bit of a Cool Whip frenzy – I never knew there were so many recipes out there - really good ones too.)
Then there’s the real distractions - the ones that can’t be put aside like managing the high school swim team (I was only supposed to oversee the volunteers, but it quickly expanded into more) or the hunt for the correct calculator for Algebra and Chemistry (the Wal-Mart employee looked me in the eye and told me the calculator I was looking for had most likely been stolen. Seriously. And so, began the calculator search because and this is a direct quote from my daughter: I have to have that one. Specifically. The teachers said so in class.)
Then there’s the everyday distractions: what’s for dinner. Grocery runs. Laundry. The dog discovering the snacks left in my daughter’s lifeguard bag and helping herself to a snack day-not the best option for her sensitive stomach. Let’s not forget phone calls from dear friends, Facebook and TV.
Here’s a sobering stat – once you’ve been interrupted, it takes more than twenty minutes to regain your focus. That helps explain why it’s easier to remain unfocused and distracted throughout the day.
I’ve often read that I need to set boundaries for my family, establishing my writing time. Funny that my family is fairly respectful of my writing time and understanding. Now that they are back in school, it’s even better. That means I need to point the finger at myself – I’m the problem. It’s really true – I haven’t quite mastered the art of saying No.
What’s the solution? A good plan. So here’s mine:
- Recognize my distractions (I’ve recognized I have a distraction problem, now I need to pinpoint those specific distractions and take care of them first before I sit down to write.)
- No more eating at my desk (or writing space). Leave the eating in the kitchen. This advice speaks to me – I start eating at my computer and within minutes I’m searching the internet for recipes. I love finding new recipes to try. No more recipe searches while writing.
- Master Attention Management – I like this term. I haven’t heard it before. I get to skip the multi-tasking and concentrate on single tasking to manage my attention. Taking it one task at a time.
- Schedule breaks. But make the activity different to give my brain a break from writing. My dog will be partial to this one … walking outside has been a long-time favorite break.
Well, that’s the plan and it looks like a good time to start. Before I open my internet browser and search for dinner ideas. How do you manage distractions? Let me know so I can expand my plan.
Happy Reading! Hope the rest of your summer is distraction free!
Cari Lynn Webb
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