author, creative, distraction, distractions. overcoming distractions, entertainment, focus, how to, procrastination, project, stress, writer, writing
Distractions are everywhere. For many people, they aren’t an issue. In fact, distractions can be great. But for the creative, for the people who are spending their free time working on projects that will someday become their main focus, distractions can be disastrous.
This is, unfortunately, a necessity. Until we reach that golden-tinted dream of writing full time, we’ve got to pay the bills somehow. I am a waitress. In theory, this job should give me plenty of time to write. I work four days a week, in the evening, 6-8 hour shifts. In reality, my job is exhausting. In fact, on Saturday, I had to go home from work early because of actual, physical exhaustion. I was dizzy, felt like I had just stepped off a treadmill, my brain was foggy… it was awful. Beyond that, my job is a constant source of drama. The management is constantly at odds and coming and going. I’m worried about the newest manager. And then the news that we’re closing in Sept for remodeling, so I have to spend time looking for a new job.
This is something that must be done. But, it’s something that’s easy to get too much of. Too little sleep is bad, as well, it can hurt your focus and ability to do tasks. Too much sleep is a time thief. I struggle with getting too much sleep.
We all need other people. Probably. I suppose part of this might be the social anxiety talking. But, I actually do like spending time with other people. I’m not always good at it, but I like it. And, of course, there’s my boyfriend. I suppose that I don’t hardly count him as ‘other people’ because he shares the same writing ambitions as me, and we often write when we hang out. But I’m sure, for some, I’m sure that other people are a pleasant, and sometimes unpleasant, distractions.
When you run out of forks because the dishes need to be done, or food because you have to grocery shop, or you need to go to some thing that you said you’d do. Obligations are also important, but can be time consuming.
All of the above things are unavoidable. And many of them are good things. Needed things. But when they culminate to produce stress, that’s when they become an issue.
Sometimes things add up. Work and obligations, drama and stress can pile on, and make you unproductive. Stress makes you worry about things. Sometimes, about things that don’t matter. I find myself having imaginary conversations sometimes which just lead to more stress, and for no reason. Stress can talk you out of even trying, and lower your productivity to 0. Stress can make you be bad.
Stress can make you doubt yourself. It can make any project seem impossible. It can make you sit down at your computer to do work, and wind up spending several hours searching the internet for things that you’re not really interested in because they are mildly entertaining. Speaking of…
Stress can lead to search for more distractions. Not that entertainment isn’t a distraction of it’s own right. But I find that, when I’m stressed, I especially turn to entertainment to distract me. It always feels better, temporarily, then being productive. Television, video games, movies… so many mindless activities that eat up time. They make us feel relaxed in the sort run. They don’t require much effort, and they let us stop thinking for a bit. They might even raise our mood. But then the day is gone, you’ve gotten nothing done, and you have remorse.
The most difficult thing is finding balance. Watching TV is entertaining. You have to put in time with the people you care about. Most of us have to work. And no one likes to live in filth (probably). Sleeping is nice. But, somehow, no matter what is going on around you, no matter how uninspired you feel, you have to keep going. You have to find some way to make time for it all. Perhaps make a schedule? Or at least set some goals. Because setting an object in motion is much harder than keeping an object in motion. Don’t hurt yourself by stopping.
I had a hard week last week. I let distractions get the better of me. But, I’m going to try to keep going. Because what I want is worth it.
Distractions are the worst and can add up over time. A week can go by and poof! You haven’t written. I’ve challenged myself to write a little everyday for 365 days. I’m on day 317! I’ll be writing about it on my blog soon. I’d love to keep sharing about balance in life!
Adan Ramie said:
I struggle with this myself. Recently, I moved to a new city, and it’s been weeks since I’ve been able to devote much time to my writing. But we’re almost all the way settled in now, and I’m determined to get back to it full force.
Good luck on the job hunt, and in the noble quest of distraction avoidance!