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 / www.KayThomas.net
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