Ditching Distractions for Life

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“You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.” Tom Kite

In fact, sometimes distractions find us.

Since writing my blog post from two weeks ago, the one about avoiding my writing (“Are You Hungry for #GettingYourOwnLife?”), I do believe I’ve avoided it even more.

Or maybe I’m just noticing it more. No, wait, it’s for real because I didn’t post last week.

Distracting myself became so obvious, I took notes on it, which I’ll share at the end of this blog post.

My distractions became obvious to my husband, as well. I snapped at him for asking about dinner at dinnertime.

“I’m in the middle of writing,” I said.

The truth? I was 15 minutes into a new section and frustrated I was way past my self-imposed deadline.

I heard the same kind of frustration when leaving a networking luncheon with a friend who’s starting her own business.

“The guy building my website is waiting for one piece of information from me. One piece and I haven’t sent it,” she said holding up one finger to emphasize how little he wanted from her.

“And why not?” she said.

She was asking the question of herself, but I felt convicted, so I confessed.

“I do the same thing. Sometimes I feel paralyzed, so instead of writing my manuscript, I write on Facebook.”

Another friend mentioned her difficulties in trying to claim her life, her space, and her energy to start up a women’s ministry.

“I’m tired from struggling through life and now have an opportunity at the good stuff, but it’s hard because I’m not disciplined for it. I’m used to doing for others,” she said.

“I’m not disciplined either,” I confessed again.

It helped to admit my secret to friends and to John. I mean, it’s not really a secret because Facebook friends see I’m on Facebook and family knows I’m texting, FaceTiming, and shopping at Target. It’s a secret because I’m hiding out from it. Joking around about procrastination isn’t an admission or a fix for it.

I’m a lot like my friend who said, “I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a drunk.”

No one’s fooled by his jokes. However, until he’s willing to give up alcohol, his drinking becomes his life.

The same is true for me until I give up distractions. They become my life. 

When Summer Turner, founder of Summer Turner’s Success for Introverted Women, suggested putting aside anything that doesn’t move me closer to my goal, I was tempted to defend my full calendar, except I knew she was right. When a goal’s been important enough, I’ve limited distractions and written.

For this reason, I’ve always met editor’s deadlines. However, I seldom meet my own, maybe because they don’t seem important enough. 

I have friends my age who, like me, are looking at their lives head-on. An inventory like this can happen at any age, but I think we typically look harder at our lives when we’re shifting from being a mom or dad and a daughter or son to asking “Who am I now?” Also, when we realize we’re not going to live forever.

Most of us are moving beyond “shoulds” and what others think. We are past child rearing years, and one or both of our parents are deceased. We may not need to work as much, but we need something to do.

We’re mindful we have life left, but concerned we don’t have energy for it. We’re tired from wrangling and juggling rigid routines, an overload of work, and complicated relationships.

We’ve been more focused on minding others’ business than our own because we thought we had to be.

More focused on busyness than being still because we thought we had to be.

More focused on family calling or our workplace calling than on God’s calling because we thought we had to be.

I told you in the last post I’d write a good bit about distractions. I also said, “… at the end of this blog post and the next one and the next one, there’s only one way to #GettingYourOwnLife. It’s to get your own life.”

Begin it. Start. Do it every day.

sowa-344442_960_720Having been reminded of that, just moments before I planned to publish this post last night, I read an article written by writer and comedian Sarah Cooper. I hope you’ll read “Do You Take Yourself Seriously?”

Sarah wrote this – if we can’t “just do it” (if we can’t begin it, start, and do it every day), it may be because we’re not taking ourselves seriously. I needed to hear her insight about #GettingYourOwnLife. Maybe you do also.

Here are the notes I mentioned above.

More distractions (all of which I’ve done during the past two weeks):

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  • Overthinking #GettingYourOwnLife.
  • Eating out with family and friends. I appreciate restaurant life.
  • Taking daytrips even when John and I agree the weekend is for catching up on writing and paperwork.
  • Caretaking and enabling others (doing for them what they can do for themselves).
  • Commenting on others’ Facebook pages. I previously only mentioned scrolling my newsfeed, but I often take rabbit trails to personal pages.
  • Commenting on blog posts. This one comes via a writer friend’s observation that we may both be distracted from our writing by each other’s writing.
  • Riding around on our golf cart an hour longer than planned.
  • Cleaning out my inbox and junk emails.
  • Cleaning up the desktop on my laptop.
  • Responding to Facebook notifications.
  • Deleting phone messages.
  • Helping John with his home improvement business even when he doesn’t ask.

What has NOT squelched distractions:

  • An online accountability group where I sometimes exaggerated my progress. (Please reframe from gasping and saying “You lied?”)
  • An incentive board to cheer myself on. (What was I thinking since I didn’t make the high school cheerleading squad?)
  • A detailed plan. (Although the plan wasn’t all that detailed, so I may try again.)
  • A timer or two or three to get me off Facebook, out of my email inbox, and onto the page. (I’m obviously unaffected by buzzing and ringing.)

What has squelched a distraction or two:

  • Setting small (sometimes minuscule) daily goals.
  • Having a cleansing cry to flush out frustration. #iamallsplotchy
  • Throwing a fit all by myself whether it’s in my closet or in my car. #donotlookatme
  • Journaling about resistance and why I don’t want to write or why I won’t write. Writing about the fit I just threw sometimes helps.
  • Pushing through things I think about like If I have a clean desk, I’ll write more and better.
  • Playing music because it stirs me. There is a fine line, though. When it’s upbeat, it can stir me to dance for Fitbit steps.
  • Taking a walk to clear my head and figure out what to write next. #onesentenceatatime

What distractions do you need to curb or ditch completely? What attitude change (like taking an inventory or taking yourself seriously) might help with ditching them?

In This Together,
Kim

Summer, thanks for sharing Sarah’s article. It may be a game changer as far as how I think about and accomplish my work.

Pixabay.com, thanks for the pix. 🙂

Readers, thank you for keeping me going.

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11 responses »

  1. Now I have to ask myself if I have just been distracted by your blog post? lol, actually I think a good writer has to be an avid reader too. The hard part is the timing, and setting some aside. Im coming a long. I actually got some writing done today and yesterday. Im thinking Im a proud puppy but one who still has to learn what the paper is for 😉

    • Hahaha, I love your puppy analogy. Me too. 🙂 And no, no, no … my blog post would never be a distraction, so don’t give that a second thought. LoL.

      I’m getting some writing done myself. I just hope to stay on track, I don’t have to write a blog post about distractions every single week. That might get a little OLD.

      Thanks for stopping by! ❤

  2. I love your lists at the end of the post! As you know, distractions are a problem for me also. What really struck home for me in this piece was your statement about having no trouble squelching distractions when you’re meeting someone else’s deadline. That reminds me of the article that Summer assigned about taking yourself seriously. Are we really taking ourselves seriously if we do not have the same laser focus as we do when meeting everyone else’s deadlines? And I don’t consider your blog a distraction because it helps to hold my feet to the fire and remind me of all the excuses I’m making for not having my own life. Next year I hope we can both celebrate having conquered our distractions and published our books!

    • Oh, Mary, I hope so too! That’d be wonderful if we both met our goals by 2017. ❤

      I loved the article posted by Summer. It filled in a missing piece for me. I do NOT take myself seriously and it's hindered me as far as taking my manuscript's deadline seriously. I'm not sure of the impact this will have on my writing, but I think it'll make a difference in setting aside time and doing the work. We'll see.

      I don’t consider your blog a distraction either, so please let me know when you post again. I learn a lot from your realness and your style of writing.

  3. I love your writing Kim…and I can so see you dancing to get those fitbit steps in! I love that visual! 🙂 and I know exactly what your saying because I also see so much of myself in what you write. I can always…and I mean ALWAYS meet deadlines that others have imposed on me but I have a hard time meeting the goals I set for my business…probably because I am so focused on all those other deadlines and outside responsibilities. Thank you for sharing and for your insights.

    • Vicki, I would have never guessed you would relate to this post. I figured you were on top of your own deadlines, as well as those imposed by others. One more thing we have in common. 🙂 Yep, I may let myself down, but never anyone else … and what’s that about? Like you said, it’s probably because I’m so focused on others’ deadlines and outside responsibilities. Oh, and Fitbit dancing. LoL.

      Maybe I need to write a post about being less responsible when it comes to others. Hmmm, I’m thinking about it.

      Thanks for your very encouraging comment! ❤

  4. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Mary Ann Zumpfe, Gayle Sloan and 8 others

    1 share (Debra Ann Gray-Elliott)

    Megan Hunt Dell OMG, Kim! This is so me, with everything (work, laundry, going for a run…..). I’ve started considering that I need to brush up on my executive skills — bought the book “The Smart But Scattered Guide to Success” and learned in Chapter 2 that ‘task initiation’ is my worst executive skill (DUH 😉 ). So now I’m working on that!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · June 18 at 11:12am · Edited

    Kim Henson Hahaha, Megan Hunt Dell. I’m laughing WITH you, by the way. 🙂 I think I need that book too, but I have a pile to read. I’m not sure if books should be on my distractions list or if they help. When I figure that out, I’ll write another blog post. Good luck with that task initiation! Share tips when you find ones that help. I’m serious!
    Like · Reply · June 20 at 1:27am

  5. From Facebook (S. Kim Henson) ~

    Nancy Launi, Angie Mojica and Summer Turner

    1 share

    Summer Turner You sure write a lot for someone who’s too distracted to write! Thanks for the mentions! 🙂
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · June 17 at 12:30am

    S. Kim Henson Hahahaha, Summer Turner. Thanks for making that point. Maybe I’m more on track than I think. 😉 I sure hope so.
    Like · Reply · 1 · June 17 at 12:42am

    S. Kim Henson I’m happy to let friends/readers know how helpful your guidance is. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · June 17 at 12:43am

    Summer Turner That's sweet. Thank you!
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · June 17 at 12:43am

    Angie Mojica I enjoyed this Kim, plus you helped me think of more things to do BESIDES write. Haha.
    No really, it was I needed to read, especially about taking oneself seriously. That's me.
    Now can I distract, err I mean trouble you to look at my blog. …See More

    The Redeemed Gemini
    Humor, Life, Faith, Variety baby
    THEREDEEMEDGEMINI.WORDPRESS.COM
    Unlike · Reply · Message · Remove Preview · 1 · June 17 at 9:15am

    S. Kim Henson Hahaha, Angie Mojica. You have such a great sense of humor. I like helping others be distracted also … you know, I like to drag everyone off track with me.
    Like · Reply · 1 · June 17 at 11:46am

    S. Kim Henson Checking out your blog very soon! Can't wait to read it.
    Like · Reply · 1 · June 17 at 11:47am

    June Hermonat Keleher Facebook is a huge distraction, as are many other things that you have mentioned in your list. I'm trying to celebrate the small triumphs of accomplishments..what I did do rather than what else has to be done. It's a daily struggle.
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · June 17 at 10:35am

    S. Kim Henson Me too, June Hermonat Keleher. That's such a great point … keeping it positive. It's never helped to beat myself up over what I'm not doing. It is a daily struggle, but support sure helps. ❤ Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!
    Like · Reply · 1 · June 17 at 11:44am · Edited

  6. From Facebook (Summer Turner’s Success for Introverted Women page) ~

    Even when she tries to be serious, Kim Henson is funny. Read this.

    Mikey Hough and Angel Wright

    S. Kim Henson Awww, thanks, Summer Turner. You’ve helped me lighten up and write. 🙂
    Like · Reply · 1 · June 17 at 12:43am

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