“Chaos is a friend of mine.” – Bob Dylan
Okay, wait just one minute. It’s time to hit “pause.”
Bad stress and overwhelming situations are not conducive to your productivity – especially when writing is involved. You can either let the chaos of your home and professional life get you down or perhaps even go through great lengths to beat it into submission.
However, there’s another alterative that many people overlook: get more out of your day by embracing your inevitable schedule, including taking unexpected interruptions into stride.
These tips can help.
Acknowledge Your Chaos
Break down the chaotic situation by dissecting the reason why it is so hectic. Do any (or all) of these sound familiar?
- You’re procrastinating.
- You’re allowing yourself to be distracted.
- You’re not good at communicating your intentions and goals.
- You’re not working at a time when you’re most productive.
- You’re fighting it.
Tips to Embrace Your Chaos
Here’s how to make progress in your goals despite the chaos:
- Procrastination: You’ve heard the old adage, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Avoid putting things off, especially your writing, or you’re never going to get anything done. Create a to-do list daily and then pick 2-3 of the most important things on that list and do them first.
- Distractions: Most distractions come from you. If you’re perpetuating your own distractions by constantly checking notifications, social media, email, etc. – learn to unplug. Assign yourself times to review and follow up on email. Get into the habit of only checking social media during periods of downtime. Turn on your devices’ airplane mode (or turn them off if you can!) to hold calls and notifications to focus on important tasks and improve your productivity.
- Communicate: You’d be surprised how supportive your family, coworkers, and peers will be if you simply share your plans and the objective they will achieve. You don’t have to go through a terrible amount of detail; merely share why it’s important to you, perhaps the purpose it serves, if it benefits them in anyway, and what you need from them (even if it’s just to be quiet).
- Timing: If you’re not exactly mentally charged first thing in the morning or stumble through a post-lunch stupor, then working on a task that requires your focus isn’t the best use of your time. Find your energy peaks of the day and capitalize on them by paying attention to the times of the day when you mentally power through challenging (and even unpleasant) tasks. Schedule your day around these peaks, but take care – don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate.
- Struggle: Embrace it. Don’t ignore what’s happening around you. It may be a much bigger or more important situation than you think and you shouldn’t miss it. If you’re overwhelmed and you feel anxious, angry, frustrated, or completely stressed, then it’s time to take a mental break. Meditate or go outside. Pay attention to anything that is not what you’re currently working on. Look – really look – and take it in without passing judgment. Just observe. This will help you realign your thinking (and attitude) as well as refresh your perspective.
Unless you live under a rock, you’re likely to always have a little chaos in your life, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Adapt to the chaos and learn be flexible using these tips.
What tips do you have to live with chaos? Do you thrive on chaos?
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