“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.
Having 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):
- 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,
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.