Are You Sabotaging Yourself?
Expert Authors face a fast, competitive atmosphere. Simply finding the time to write while balancing personal and professional priorities is an enormous challenge. Compound that with overcoming pesky distractions and you’re in for an uphill battle.
Here’s a tough point most people will not easily admit: You are the cause of the majority of your distractions.
While distractions like texts, notifications, email, and more may come from others, you choose when, where, and how you react and engage with the distractions. It’s not too late! You can reclaim your power over distractions.
Take a look at the list of distractions below and see how many you can relate to. If the number is overwhelming, it’s time you took a closer look and deal with them in a way that suits your priorities.
WARNING: Each point below is written from the perspective of the wrong advice. It’s delivered tongue in cheek to provide a humorous view of self-induced distractions. I hope they make you smile because I know I’ve been guilty of a few of these excuses. Let us know which ones you’re guilty of too!
10 Distractions that Destroy Productivity: The WRONG Advice
Turn On All Electronic Devices
- Email/Internet: Maintain a non-stop connection to the Internet while you’re writing for news updates and constant idea generation. Also, avoid scheduling specific times to check your email – it’s far too important to respond to each message straight away. Be the ultimate multitasker, don’t neglect email or the Internet!
- Phone Calls/Text Messages: Never risk letting a caller go straight to voicemail. Even if you’re on a great track in your writing, you should make time to chit chat with friends and brush up on your texting skills while you’re brainstorming. It won’t bust your productivity too much and it’s better to respond to others quickly to keep them engaged in conversation. Keep your phone on at all times.
- Television: With so many great shows on TV and streaming media channels, how can you possibly keep up with it all? Tune to your favorite programs and have them play in the background while you’re writing! It will ultimately save time because you’re multi-tasking! Challenge yourself to concentrate on your writing and what’s going on in the show you’re watching. Take a seat on the couch, write, and take in all the drama of the entertainment world at once!
- Video Games: Playing video games or apps on your smartphone can be soothing. Take a break from writing by grabbing a controller and get lost in fantasy or the latest app saga with a truly hands-on experience. Your writing can wait. You can get back to work once you complete the next level or the one after that.
Be at the Beck and Call of Relationships
- Friends: Your friends need your full attention. Try to make plans with them while you’re thinking about your next set of articles. Do they want to drop by during your scheduled writing session? No problem! It’s good to interact with others when you’re trying to focus. Casually talk about current events and controversial topics to get your mind racing and to make the room more tense.
- Neighbors/Surprise Visits: We’ve divorced ourselves so much from face-to-face communication these days due to technology. Encourage your neighbors to visit as they please! You never know when you’re going to have company over, so have the kettle and a few homemade goodies ready. Don’t ignore knocks at the door because you’re busy – you can pick up where you left off with your writing.
- Pets: To most pet owners, these loyal and adorable animals are like family. Include your pets in your writing sessions. Isn’t it adorable the way your cat sits on your keyboard? How hilarious is your dog’s latest tail-chasing antics? Never let your pet think your office is off-limits; after all, they want to be near you and get updates on dinner. Take frequent breaks to give them attention.
Let It All Go
- Physical Condition: Turn discomfort into opportunity! Being too comfortable while you’re working will put you to sleep. You need to feel agitated, hungry, tired, and shift constantly in your seat if you want to be alert. Let the motivation to relieve the discomfort – eat, sleep, or straighten out your back – drive you to finish your work faster.
- Environment: If you’re the type to be distracted by a little dust or coffee stain, by all means – take the time to thoroughly clean your workspace. You need the absolute cleanest environment for any type of writing. When you see an opportunity to organize, dust or vacuum, be sure to take it! Alternately, if your workspace is so messy that you can’t find your outlines or notes, let it go and don’t worry about organizing the space! You can let your memory do it’s work or perform the research over again.
- Procrastination: It’s necessary to put things off from time to time. You need to mull over an idea because the longer you put off writing, the more powerful your ideas will become as they mature in your mind. Throw out your calendar and avoid a schedule. Take your time and wait until tomorrow, or the next day. You’ll get around to it!
DISCLAIMER: Do not follow the advice given above – in fact, do the exact opposite! Think about the distractions you specifically struggle with. If you recognize and understand how harmful these can be to your productivity, you will have a chance at success. Remember, you can do things as you’ve always done them and get the same results. Or break the pattern, step it up, and focus on your writing by eliminating distractions. The path you take is up to you! Are you guilty of any of the above self-induced distractions? Do you have solutions to drive away distractions? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!