Every day, it’s the same thing. Over and over and over again.
On Friday evenings, I set up my schedule for the next week. I fill out my calendar in Thunderbird, I scribble out various tasks and projects that need to get done in the following week, and then I set myself up to follow the schedule as if it were being imposed upon me by a high-paying employer.
But each week it’s the same thing. Over and over and over again.
Monday starts off great. Projects are getting done, tasks are being checked off. Work runs from morning to night, and I place my head on the pillow with a feeling of complete and utter satisfaction. A great day. A great productive day.
Tuesday morning begins with me sleeping through my alarms. I spill my coffee. I spend too much time on Facebook. I get distracted with an online sale. A family member calls to invoke me into the latest batch of drama. Crisis (which aren’t really crisis) arise, slowing stealing each fragment of my time and energy.
I end Tuesday nauseous. A completely unproductive day. Projects weren’t finished. Tasks weren’t checked off. The feeling in my stomach is a sour one, and it compels me to continue on through the rest of the week with a defeatist’s attitude. This turns the week from potentially productive to manically depressing.
But Friday night comes along, I fill out my calendars for the next week, I swear a blood oath to some random demon god that I will fulfill all of my duties, and I enjoy the weekend, pumped up for a productive week ahead.
Monday comes around. It’s the same thing. Over and over and over again.
Sometimes I feel like a locomotive, shoving my way through the mountains that were once molehills, chugging my way through projects and tasks, confident of my purpose. Other times I feel like the caboose that somehow got detached from the rest of the train and left behind at the station.
Distractions can be detrimental…if we let them be. I’m learning to handle each one more appropriately…
Facebook is a thorn in my side, for more reasons than I can count some days. But the main reason is that it’s a constant source of distraction. I love to catch the latest happenings of my friends and online acquaintances I’ve never met in real life but am completely obsessed over when it comes to their latest cat picture.
For reasons of productivity, I have now installed a website blocker in my Firefox browser window. I hit a button and my browser will automatically block any websites I set up beforehand. To unblock them, I have to go into the app manager and turn it off, which is just enough of an inconvenience that it works to keep me on point.
Phone calls are something I dread, not just because I’m an introvert, but because there’s usually some drama attached to most of them. Friends want to chat, family wants to gossip, Walgreen’s wants to tell me for the millionth time that my prescription is ready. My phone doesn’t get answered unless it’s my wife, at least not while I’m working. That’s what voicemail is for. If it’s an emergency – which the fear of is usually what gets me on the phone – they can leave a voicemail or send a text.
Daydreaming is a big problem for me, although it can also be a writer/artist’s best friend. I tend to stare into space, and one would think I’m lost in a fantasy world I am building with my mind and filling with characters who will grace the beautiful pages of my next novel. Most times though, I’m daydreaming about my latest life issue: finances, car problems, visits with the in-laws, chores around the house, etc., etc., etc. Being ADHD does not help this distraction issue, but I’m learning to catch it when it happens and force myself to focus on the task at hand.
Family time is something that sounds positive, but sometimes can steal away the time I need for other things. Working from home, I tend to gravitate toward family time whenever I can. There are nights I will blow off projects to go for a walk, watch a movie, or just hang out with my fam. This is great – to a certain degree. Beyond that degree, immersing myself in nothing but family time isn’t going to get these projects done or get food on the table. So, my wife is helping me stay accountable, and we keep our family time in check. We make sure to schedule enough family time for the week to where we are all spending a healthy amount of time with one an other, but also leaving enough room for me to hunker down and work.
A lot of times, I can get more easily distracted the longer I’m sitting at my computer. I work from home, and 90% of what I do is on the computer. It can cause me to become incredibly restless, and more prone to browse Facebook, answer my phone, or daydream. Because of this, I’ve started initiating breaks during the day. Sometimes, it’s a lunch break. Other times, it’s just a break to get up, stretch, get some fresh air or a snack. When we have cool weather here in Arizona, I like to walk over the freeway and watch the traffic for a bit. When it’s hot out, I tend to enjoy going to the mall just to walk and think. Most times, I bring a project with me – such as manuscripts that need to be read, story ideas that need to be written out, or company procedures that need some deep thought.
Distractions can quickly and very easily kill our day before it barely even has a chance to begin. But they don’t have to. Being more vigilant about protecting our time, energy, and efforts is something we can all do – even if it is a grand challenge sometimes.