I’m hardly qualified to do or write anything on the internet, but I think I am the perfect person to talk about distractions. My enthusiasm for this blog was full force when I launched it in spring, yet somehow only a few months later my posts have halted. I can tell you with all honesty that it wasn’t because that enthusiasm fizzled or that I was feeling uninspired. It genuinely was because I wasn’t minding my own business.
I had my whole summer schedule lined up and literally none of it went as planned. I was so frustrated that I was actually dying for Fall to begin, not for the cooler weather but so I would be back in school and be forced to get back on a routine and not keep side lining my own plans in favor of other things. I actually remember telling my doctor my diet would get better when the Fall begins because I had too many family events in the summer and I just had to eat like everyone else when I was at these events. (Do you ever feel self-conscious about being the one person at the family table eating salad while everyone else is devouring the stuffed shells?) Basically I couldn’t even keep my diet on track.
Somehow I convinced myself for about three months that some random project at work and all these family/summer events took precedence over everything else I had going on: my diet, my workouts, my writing, travel, my husband, and this blog. Now that most of that fog has cleared and I’m looking back at the last weeks of summer I realize everything I did only served to distract me. I sidelined my own life in favor of a lot of things and hopefully I can help you to avoid my mistakes.
Here’s a list of all the things I do to not get distracted from the things that matter:
Limit My Time on Social Media
Social media isn’t my biggest distraction but I list it first because collectively it might be our biggest. It’s one of our many external distractions. I’m not going to insert statistics (it’s just not that type of blog), but we know we do it a lot. When you have an Instagram or Facebook page for business or creative purposes you tend to be on those sites a lot and that’s normal. Moving forward I just want my time on my pages to be productive and not mindless scrolling. Am I making relationships, sharing my work, pitching in for a good cause, etc. Otherwise spending all day liking pictures is extremely time consuming. Yes Instagram is cute but I personally have to stop reaching to open the app when I’m bored and then three hours of scrolling later I haven’t even finished my laundry.
I haven’t watched TV in about a week and a half. I got a bit offended when my husband suggested I read a book instead of complaining about how there’s nothing to watch on Netflix and Hulu. I do read a lot for school (I’m in a Grad English program so the reading is intense). But reading for pleasure—I don’t even remember what that’s like. Here I am nearly two weeks later having read two books, on to my third, still abreast with my school work, started writing again, and actually found time to work out. Light bulbs went off! Turns out TV is my BIGGEST distraction. All of a sudden I had hours on end to get my priorities in order instead of scrolling through the critically acclaimed search list on Netflix for an hour and a half (huge eye roll). Shake things up a bit. Change things for a week and you’ll be surprised what you get accomplished.
Investing in People
I believe in investing in people and sharing you time. I really do. I just think if you yourself are very fragile (emotionally, financially, spiritually, mentally, and productively) and require so much of your own time then be very careful how much of yourself you give to people. Especially if they aren’t appreciative (which can feel emotionally exhausting) or if they aren’t interested in pouring back into you. I started this year off being so generous and now I think at this stage in my life where I’m building the blocks of my own success I can’t be as generous as I would like because then I become too drained to even fulfill my own needs. I can’t give to people and have nothing left for myself. Especially if being generous is helping other people get to a place where they want to be and they aren’t even looking back to you to help you climb the ladder as well. People can be selfish. There’s a time to be selfish. There really is. Wait till you’re nourished before you feed someone else.
Obsessing Over Material Things
I do this with so many things. I have my phases; I obsess over makeup, skincare, candles (seriously), clothes, shoes, handbags (a problem sis), house hold décor, knick knacks and paddy whacks. I get sick of myself. Most of these things I think are a financial distraction. You are so serious about saving to upgrade your business website until you see that must have handbag and it pushes your upgrade back six months because you just have to have the bag. I also used to obsess over the cleanliness of my house and would wake up 7 am every Saturday to do this massive cleaning. Meanwhile the house didn’t give a sh*t about me. Its hard sis but stop obsessing. Its unhealthy, tiresome, oftentimes financially jeopardizing and most definitely time consuming.
Obsessing Over The Job That’s Not Your Future
I’m not advocating for you to do mediocre work at your job or become so nonchalant that you phone it in. I am all for maintaining a good reputation with your employer and even signing up for projects and being a team player. All that good stuff. But if it is a “pay the bills” job and your real passion is something else, do not dedicate your precious free time to that job or let it tire you to the point that you can’t find time to dedicate to your actual passion. Find a balance so your day job doesn’t distract you from you future.
Wasting Time On What People Will Think
I am currently in the midst of a project right now that I am delaying completing because I’m scared of how it will be received. I am literally spending more time distracting myself with what people will think than producing something I know I will be proud of. This is what I would call an internal distraction (when your emotions–often fear–get in the way of you reaching your full potential). As long as you stay true to yourself and stick to what you believe then cast all that negative energy behind you and move forward. Being vulnerable is so daunting but I believe there is great reward on the other side of it.
Relying On Other People
Have you ever seriously pushed your plans because you’ve been too scared to go somewhere alone, too afraid to take pictures of yourself in public, too afraid to do a project by yourself? So you distract yourself waiting for someone else to do it all with you when it’s totally possible to do it all by yourself. Seriously, what’s left out there that we can’t do alone? You do not need to wait for anyone but yourself and even don’t even do that. Other people will loop into the reasons why they can’t and then their reasons become your reasons and then you never do anything. Cherish your independence; no one has it forever.
Taking Bull Sh*t Advice
I am an advocate for listening and taking inspiration from other people. But sis, you have to follow your gut on some things. You cannot let someone have you tangled in webs over what they think is best for your life. Trust yourself and learn to know who and what is really for you.
The unique thing about my brand of procrastination (lol) is that I fill my time with things that I think are worth it but they really aren’t. I put important things off to do other important things. Some of those other important things are just a waste of my energy, things I do for other people, or things I do that won’t actually get me anywhere. Putting things off for what you think is important is the ultimate way to distract yourself from getting things done. If you take some time to really consider what serves you then your list of actual important things will become shorter and shorter. (Should I say “important” again for emphasis?)
I hope this list was helpful and I’m glad you took the time to read it. Did you notice anything on the list that you find distracts you too or other things I didn’t mention? Would love to hear in the comments!