Monday, January 7, 2013

Writer's Life and Dealing with Distractions

With the start of the New Year, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed with the goals I’ve set combined with commitments and well, just life.

For example, aside from my 40-hour weekly job, I’ve signed up for a night class to develop another interest (not related to writing), am becoming involved in the youth ministry at my church (which I’m very excited about), and oh yeah, by the way, there’s this goal called writing book three and developing my blog… not to mention family time, friends, spiritual growth, personal development, and travel plans.

Before you start calling me overcommitted or an overachiever, jot down your own list. If I were a betting person, I would wager your list is just as complicated as mine.

In our busy lives, there is relatively little “down” time. So how can we make the most of the precious time we have without getting distracted? Here are two rules I’ve set for myself this year.

Identify what I want to accomplish before I turn on the computer.

Yes, the internet can become a big distraction. If I’m not careful, I may be drawn into a news advertisement on Yahoo or caught up in the newsfeed on Facebook. What may start as curiosity can turn into a big time-waster.

If I’m going to write a blog, I need to write a blog. If I’m going to catch up on news or social life, I need to give myself a time limit. Otherwise, an hour will be gone, and my post will still be unwritten.

Say no to “good things” that don’t fit my goal parameters.

This may be one of my biggest struggles. Someone will come up to me and say, “Hey, do you want a part in the Easter drama?” The Easter drama is a wonderful program, and I have enjoyed being a part of our drama program in the past; but I can’t do everything, and I have to remember that saying yes isn’t just saying yes to the performance. It’s committing to the practices and dress rehearsals as well.

You fill in the blanks. If you and I are going to be successful in meeting our goals, we will have to know the limits to our time and energy – and define our priorities in advance.

What about you? What kinds of distractions do you face, and how do you find ways to deal with them?

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