5 Tips for Dealing with Distractions
The life of a mom writer is full of contradictions—focused concentration broken by chores, voices, demands, and needs. Finding a way to not only manage, but overcome those distractions is crucial to our success and productivity.
For the record, I consider myself an expert at the distractions, not so much at overcoming them. So I thought I’d pass on some tips from the trenches that have worked to help me get work done without losing my cool.
TIP #1: Find a Fresh Perspective
If you’re in the midst of a noisy environment or one that’s stifling, get out and get some fresh air. If you’ve got little ones or a beloved pet at home, let them come along. It’ll do everyone good to find a new perspective. Like yesterday afternoon, for example, when I couldn’t concentrate because the kiddos were going stir-crazy. We all hopped in the car for some time away from home and returned feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready to get back to work.
TIP #2: Change Your Mind
Maybe you had planned to write from 8 – 10 am, but the world seems to be falling down around your feet as you try to ignore it and focus. Instead of having your attention divided, change your mind about when you will work. Use the other time to get things back on track, then commit to a different two hour block of time later in the day. I used this strategy this morning when the constant knocks on the door and questions kept me from being able to get words on paper. Instead of trying to produce something in that environment, I got out of the house, went to the coffee shop and wrote my notes longhand.
TIP #3: Anticipate Interruptions
Working at home doesn’t afford the luxury of a quiet cubicle or office among your peers. That means that to expect an interruption-free day is unrealistic and will only create more stress. Sometimes overcoming the stress is as simple as preparation. If you expect and anticipate distractions to pop up and accomodate for them in your schedule, you may be less inclined to get thrown so far off track.
TIP #4: Get Out Your Wallet
This may not be the most revolutionary strategy, but it works. Invest in some good heavy-duty earplugs and a lock on your door. Sometimes it’s easier than we think to block out anything that would distract us from our writing. If noise is the problem, get some earplugs, turn on a great soundtrack and let it drown out any other noise. If you work at home, get behind closed, locked doors. It may be just the ticket for the peace and quiet you are craving.
TIP #5: Accept Help
Don’t expect to do it all alone. I know that I like to think I can handle it on my own. I expect that I’m supposed to handle it all and keep it all together. But that expectation is not realistic. We need people and they need us. Enlist the help of another writer, mom, friend, grandma, neighbor, or student. You can work in trade or cash, but don’t try to go it alone. Your frustration and lack of focus will impact more than your writing.
There you have it. Top 5 Tips from an expert avoider. What’s your best solution for dealing with distractions? I’d love to hear what works for you!