Want to know how to start again after a major distraction? The past few weeks I’ve had a major distraction and haven’t done any work on my blog. Nothing. For a month!! Over the summer I had several family members come and stay with us for the whole summer. And although I anticipated a drop in my productivity, I didn’t factor in stopping altogether!
How it started
Things kind of went off kilter when my husband had a tax account emergency he wanted me to deal with. I’m also kind of like his personal assistant and I record his business income and expenses so that they’re ready for his accountant to deal with.
When this emergency came up, he asked me to drop everything so that I could get it done quicker.
I dropped everything.
And as it happened, I didn’t pick it back up!
I was very distracted with my relatives staying in our house. Which meant a lot of extra people (in not a lot of extra space!).
Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE my family. And I think that’s why it was very easy to just lay everything else down.
However, I found it hard to process my thoughts and also work (as I moved my computer up to my bedroom during this period along with several other bits and pieces!). But having my computer in my bedroom meant that I couldn’t do any work in the early hours of the morning (which is when I write). That’s because my husband is still fast asleep at 5am (how dare he!!).
One week rolled into the next and before I knew it, a whole month had gone by with nothing getting done.
The biggest struggle was my mind
The most difficult thing to deal with was not the lack of productivity that happens after a major distraction. But the niggling thoughts of failure that ensue after a long period of ‘not being on the ball’.
I began to wonder whether blogging was really for me. I mean, how could I let a whole month slide by and have nothing to say for it?
And I began to question whether I really even wanted to pursue it at all? Perhaps it’s not really ‘me’.
Can you relate?
Have you ever been through a period where you just drifted through a season and wondered where all that time went? Or thought that your lack of progress in an area meant that you should really be doing something else altogether?
Overcoming your mind
Getting a major distraction can really disorient you from your purpose. It can cause a fog to descend on your original goals and ambitions to the point where you question why you even had those goals in the first place.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with questioning whether you still want to achieve your goals. I try to do it every quarter! #90DayYear
But it’s another thing altogether to question your goals when you’re in a defeatist mindset. Which is what a major distraction can cause.
Because of the lack of progress you’ve made, you feel defeated or overwhelmed by the task ahead. And in this mindset, the natural instinct is to quit.
Quitting is not necessarily a bad thing. But it should be done from a positive mindset and an attitude of gratitude. For example, someone running a marathon might decide to quit halfway through. But there’s a big difference quitting with the attitude of “I’m really proud I ran a half marathon!” than with the attitude of “I’ll never make it to the finish, it’s hopeless. I better quit.”. Do you see the difference?
The person quitting with a positive attitude, will be motivated to try again and possibly go farther next time or take up another, equally challenging pursuit. However, the person quitting with a defeatist mindset will not be motivated to run the marathon again and may give up challenging sports altogether.
And this small change in our perspective can have a massive affect! When you quit in an overwhelmed state of mind, you’re basically making a decision with your emotions.
Not good. Our emotions change daily.
Trust the ‘sane’ you
I once heard a lady say that if you make a To Do list the night before and you wake up and you don’t want to to the tasks on your list – don’t listen to that feeling. Trust the list you made the day before when you were sane and feeling well. Trust the “you” who looked at all the tasks for your week and decided, in your rational mind, that these were the tasks you needed to complete today.
Because the truth is that we are emotional and often wayward beings (especially us women!). And allowing our emotions to dictate our goals, or our productivity is tantamount to crashing our productivity rocket into the sea.
So how did I start again after a major distraction?
- First off, it helps if you can remove the distraction. Whatever it is that’s derailing you needs to be removed or you need to remove yourself from the situation or area. For me, the catalyst to start again after a major distraction happened when my relatives headed to the airport and said goodbye. That was a stark reminder for me to get back on the ball and get things into perspective.
If I had gotten things into perspective sooner, I would have realised that I could take myself out of the situation and left the kids with my husband in the night and gone to a 24-hour McDonalds to do some work on my iPad (see this post I wrote about working away from home).
But, to quote a favourite cartoon scene from The Simpsons, “I wasn’t usin’ ma’brain!!”.
- Secondly, you just need to start.For me, this meant moving my computer back downstairs to my desk. I write a lot freer and faster (like now) when I’m at my desk.
And on top of that I didn’t even make a To Do list.
Yep. You read that right. I didn’t make a To Do list, I just started writing. And that’s my third point:
- Don’t procrastinate!!I just decided to do one thing that I knew I needed to do. Write. And I didn’t even give myself a topic. I didn’t try to brainstorm.
All of that would have lead me to procrastinate even further. But in order to start, you need to stop procrastinating and put aside all the valid (and not so valid) excuses!
When you want to start again after a major distraction, the hardest thing to do is to simply START.
Is this you?
If you’ve been putting off a task or goal for some time, just start. Do something. The smallest, easiest thing you can think of. Don’t even worry about writing a To Do list for now. Don’t worry about the dishes waiting in the sink. Or the Weetabix encrusted on the breakfast table. Just get the engines turning. Don’t spend one more minute procrastinating! Do something. And START.
When you start making progress, you can begin to get into a rhythm.Then you can draw up a To Do list or brainstorm if you like. And like the motion of a train, although it may seem a little sluggish and slow at the beginning – it’s PROGRESS! And soon you’ll be moving along fine! But first you must JUST START!