Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Easily Distracted By Bright Shiny Objects

New beginnings. I love the New Year and making New Year’s resolutions. Well, sort of. About two weeks into the New Year it seems I become…distracted. I fall off the wagon on my diet or exercise regime. I quit cleaning out that closet I swore I would get to this year. And I just can’t seem to follow through and finish those household chores.

I’ve tried various methodologies to stay on track. A shelf or a drawer a week, but I get…um…well. For Christmas my husband gave me a bumper sticker that pretty much describes my state of mind in regard to resolutions:

Easily Distracted By Bright Shiny Objects.

Obviously, he knows me well.

So you may ask, how in the world do I ever finish a book? Well, that’s a good question considering my sweetie offices out of the house and his voice can carry through the air vents into my office space as if he were sitting next to me cheering for his favorite pro cyclist in Le Tour de France! (We’re not huge football fans…unusual, I realize living in Texas.)

I was recently asked in an interview. “How do you shut out distractions?”

Ummm…Not real well.

When I’m working, I shut the door to my office and I sometimes turn on the A/C fan as a white noise. It’s interesting though. I can write at Starbucks and not be bothered at all by the noise around me. I think it’s the familiar that distracts me. If I overhear my family talking in the next room and start wondering what they’re doing, I’ll want to be hanging out with them instead of in my office.

I think it depends on what I’m working on. If I’m caught up in the story I’m writing, the smoke alarm can go off and I won’t hear it. If I’m stuck, I’m much more easily distracted.

Now, lest you think I’m totally scatterbrained — When I’m really into the story, I’ll become so involved in the writing and my characters, I won’t eat or sleep. My kids can knock on the office door and while I’ll hear them, I won’t be wild about answering, unless there’s the proverbial blood or smoke. However, if I’m answering email or doing some kind of non-story work, I can usually be dragged away from the computer fairly easily. Depending on the time of day, too, it can be a battle for me to stay focused and awake, especially in the afternoons. Naps always sound so appealing.

So how do you fight distractions to get your work done – be it at the computer or elsewhere? Notice, I didn’t even bring up the distraction of surfing the Internet — facebook, myspace or reading blogs. (That’s a whole other post.) But I’m always interested in new strategies for becoming more productive. Any suggestions?


Kay Thomas /
Better Than Bulletproof ~ in stores now!
4 ½ stars ~ Romantic Times


  1. Oh yes, I get easily distracted. If I go to a county fair or any gathering place, my husband has to hold on to me. He says I'll just wander off, looking at the pretty colors and bright lights :)! The internet is a place I get VERY distracted! Believe it or not, I make a list of what I need to do and specific sites I need to hit, if I don't do that, I'll spend all morning on computer and not get any specific tasks done. For example; right now, I'm blogging instead of doing my on-line database training......."Oh, I'm so bad" *grinning sheepishly* but I can't help it, I love my author and book sites! LOL

  2. Ooo, I like your list idea for the Internet! That's a concept. I make lists for the grocery. Why not for my computer time? Thanks!

    And hey, author and book sites do not count as distractions! ; )

  3. I get distrated very easy. I will also start on something and then the next thing you know I am doing something else. I think I have AAAD age activated attention disorder. I have to make list for the grocery store and then I don't get everything on the list. The older I get the worse I am. When I am reading a book and hubby is watching TV I put ear plugs in my ears to drown out the noise.

  4. I should be folding laundry instead of blogging right now.
    Easily distracted-----me----no way!

  5. Hi Kay,
    Sometimes I need total silence and at times I need to have music on. Too bad I can't turn off the phone at work because you never know if the boss wants to speak with you, but I try not to answer emails as soon as they appear in the inbox.

  6. Hi All

    Sorry I haven’t been answering on the blog today. I had a major “distraction.” A leaking water pipe somewhere in the bathroom. They’re still trying to figure out where the leak is coming from. It’s been an interesting day filled with plumbers and lots of towels. And I’ve learned all kinds of new skills…including how to cut off the water main to my house. : )

    Thanks for dropping by. I’ll see you later this month.