I don’t know a single person on the planet who doesn’t have occasional periods of major distraction. Often the problems that take our attention come from our family.
I’m in the middle of one of those. I have absolutely no control over what’s happening to a beloved and in some cases, my input seems to have caused more problems than it’s solved.
In short, it’s been hard to concentrate.
However, deadlines keep coming, blogs need to be written, assignments done, etc. etc. etc.
Since this is an ongoing problem that probably won’t resolve in a hurry, I’ve had to develop ways to keep working. Here are six of them.
I’m ready to drop everything and go if that’s what’s called for – it probably won’t, but I’m mentally ready if it should be helpful. That also means I’m ready to take the consequences of lost work time.
I’ve let selected clients know I’ve got a family problem. I find the people who hire me to write are a pretty understanding bunch. Those who expect frequent contact I’ve let know I’m not as available right now as I often am.
I’m doing more bookending which helps me stay on track. I love bookending anyway, but when I find my mind drifting to worry and anger and frustration, I pick up the phone and bookend whatever writing chore I want to work on. Accountability helps me keep at it.
I find writing distracts me from the problem. When I really get into the writing, it distracts me from the problem. Of course!
When worry hits I breathe. My worry over this situation seems to come in waves. When it hits I stop, get mindful of my worry and do some conscious breathing. Somehow that re-grounds me in the impermanence of everything including problems and lets me become, again, undefended in this situation. I can then return to my work.
I’m being gentle with myself. I din’t create this situation but given the people involved it’s totally normal that I’m worried about it, and the family members involved. I ache for them and I want so badly to be able to fix it. I can’t, but I can honor my compassion and use some compassion on myself. I know I’m not writing as fast as I usually do. And probably not as well, at least not without more editing than I’m used to. I’m not getting everything done and that’s just fine with me – or I’m remembering that it needs to be okay.
I’m also noticing that by using these techniques most everything that really needs to get done is getting done.
How do you handle important distractions?
Write well and often,