We all know how it is to be working really intently on a project only to get distracted by something or someone. I know my kids never seem to need anything until I am working on bills, my blog, paperwork, or if I get a phone call. A phone call in itself can be a major distraction depending on the timing of it.
When we are doing our school work in the mornings I try my best to keep the distractions to a bare minimum. It never fails that someone will come in and get the kids stirred up or the cat will sneak in and start tickling someone’s feet. Maybe the phone will ring and the kids will take it as a signal to go crazy.
I try to handle important calls and paperwork during nap time when things are generally a bit quieter and calmer here. Sometimes I get sidetracked with one of the million other things on my To-Do list. Sometimes I get into a conversation with a friend via text or messenger. Sometimes I start checking emails or log onto my Facebook for a quick peek and one thing leads to another and I end up accomplishing nothing. These are all distractions.
While many distractions could be avoided and sometimes they can cause us to waste precious time, they are not always a bad thing.
On occasion, I have been really busy and working really hard on something when one of the kids comes up just to say ‘I love you’. Of course, they usually want something when they do this but I never get tired of hearing those three words. It reminds me that I do need breaks and they need attention and hugs, lots of hugs.
Sometimes I sneak to my room to work on something while the kids are playing in the yard outside of my window. Maybe I get caught up just watching them play and wondering how they have grown up so fast. Then I’ll notice that someone’s pants are a little short and decide to check for sales. Or I’ll remember that someone else needed something so I’ll try to look into that.
If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat. I’ll get all comfy and situated and the cat will come in. He will start by rubbing on my foot, then my leg, then he will jump on the bed. He will make his way across the nightstand to sit on my lap. If the computer happens to be in my lap then he will sit on the computer. He wants my attention.
I know its hard when you have deadlines to meet or something that is really pressing on you to get finished. It is so easy to just say, ‘No, I can’t right now.’ or ‘I’m too busy for that.’. We need to step back for a moment sometimes and ask ourselves if what we are working is really that important.
Is it gonna matter in 5 years that I didn’t get this blog post finished on time? Will it really be the end of the world if I don’t check all of my emails right now?
Occasional distractions can be a welcome relief from the stress of our often overwhelming duties and responsibilities. They can actually help our brains to relax a little and help get our creative juices flowing. Have you ever been stuck on a problem of some sort and walked away from it for a bit only to come back with fresh eyes and have a solution pop up out of nowhere? I have.
I’m not saying that we should give in to every distraction but every now and then it is OK to let yourself get distracted. I usually try to keep a list of things that need to get done. My daily list is kept on my FlyHelper app. I also have a weekly and monthly list on there as well. So for the days that I am not focused and get distracted by every little thing I can refer back to the lists to keep me on track.
I also keep a file on my desk for things that need my attention. These include bills, reimbursements to file for various items, school materials to check into, appointments to make, and other things that invariably make their way into my already full lap. These are the items that I try to work on during quiet times.
My desk is situated on a kitchen wall adjacent to the playroom. The playroom is where the kids spend probably 80% or more of their time when they are in the house. This works out good for me as I can keep an eye on them while also working on important things that may need to get finished. I can do my bills, phone calls, menu planning, grocery lists, shopping lists, and even clip coupons from this one area. This may not work for everyone but it does for us. I currently have a roll-top desk so I can leave my current project out on the desktop and just pull the lid closed so no one messes with it.
If I have big projects to work on I try to break them down into smaller tasks that I can work on in shorter chunks of time. Many times I am able to get them finished much quicker than anticipated but just the idea of knowing that I can get to a stopping point helps keep me focused.
For instance, one of the couches in the playroom needs replaced but I haven’t had the money or time to go shopping for a new one. The cushions had so many holes that they would leak stuffing everywhere and on anyone who sat on it. We had put a throw on the couch which didn’t stay put for very long with so many kids around. The only other solution was to make some covers for the cushions.
I knew that meant dragging out the sewing machine, the sewing box, and finding some material. Well, I found some material at a thrift store and I set it in an easily accessible place. Then the next time I was in the closet I managed to pull out the sewing machine and the sewing box and set them in a place where I could get to them easily.
One day I had a little free time so I decided just to pull the material out and get it cut to size. That went much quicker than I had expected and the kids were playing quietly with big sister so I decided to proceed with assembling everything. In less than an hour, I had each of the cushions covered, fluffed, and put back on the couch. I had also vacuumed up the mess and washed the throw that had been on the couch.
Maybe you are sending out Christmas cards? Break it up into small chunks like buying the cards and stamps, gathering the addresses, signing the cards and sealing them in the envelopes, addressing the envelopes, then mailing them. Or do them in small batches.
Just remember that as life happens distractions will be an inevitable thing. Try to weed out the ones that you can and embrace the ones you can’t. Take each moment, each hour, each day in stride and stay focused on your goals. Don’t let the distractions keep you from your goals but don’t let obtaining your goals cause you to miss out on life and your family.