Identifying and Managing Distractions

Distractions, distractions, distractions.

Every activity has them and speaking for myself, they are the bane of my existence when I am working on creative projects. Even the most interesting and compelling subjects can be sidelined or even derailed completely by the smallest distraction.

What is a Distraction?

What ISN’T a Distraction. A Distraction can be something as tiny as needing to grab a pen or pencil to write down a story idea while composing prose at the keyboard for a current project to stretching out a break for a few minutes to pop on social sites like Twitter and Facebook to mess around for a while, to more significant things such as needing to stop to eat or perform various day to day chores. Each person’s circumstances will dictate what types of Distractions they will encounter.

How to cut down or eliminate Distractions?

Most Distractions can be minimized or eliminated by scheduling specific times to take care of the important day to day things before sitting down to be creative. I mean, you have to eat, right? Those certain day to day chores have to be completed, right? Creative pursuits have to be prioritized based on how important they are to your daily life. Those who depend on their creativity for their income will place a higher priority on producing content purely for their own amusement. This is a subjective and very wide scale, so trust me when I say that there is room between both endpoints for everyone.

Can Distractions be done away with completely?

Sadly, no. Distractions will always exist and where they exist, there is usually a reduction or at least a delay on productivity. Now, don’t be depressed about this because although annoying, they serve an important function is that they force us to steel our resolve toward what we consider important and rebuild the blocks of commitment that are frequently cannibalized under the banner of “Fun”.

How can I use my Distractions to my benefit?

Believe it or not, Distractions can be used to maintain your focus. The technique that I’ve found that works, most of the time, is to mix what creative project I’m involved with into the Distraction and use that Away Time to keep the project(s) fresh in my mind. Using this particular technique has helped me to keep those creative fires stoked enough to encourage me to get back to work as soon as possible.