DIstractions happen in the most orderly of lives and to the most focused people, but how do we working artists manage them? This can be one of the most important skills to making a living and life as a storyteller, writer, consultant, what have you.
When I find myself distracted I do a number of things. Maybe this will be useful for you, too.
1. I acknowledge that I am distracted. Rather than getting angry at myself or excessively frustrated. I find that if I admit to myself that I'm having an unfocused day I am much more likely to be able to reset myself.
2. I try to figure out why I'm distracted. For instance, today is a travel day. I'm on my way back home from visiting my parents. My father is in hospice care, so it was a challenging and tiring visit. By admitting that these cares are making it harder for me to concentrate I give myself a little breathing room.
3. If possible, I address the distraction. Am I hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Is there something more urgent pressing upon me? Do I just need a break?
4. Once I've addressed it, if I can, I take some kind of physical break. I go for a walk, I stretch, I meditate. I do something to reset my body as well as my mind.
5. And then I select a small task that I know I can accomplish. By starting and completing a small task I give myself the satisfaction of finishing something. Success builds on success. I can then set a timer and start working on a larger task in blocks.
I find this set of steps helps even when I'm deeply distracted and unfocused.
What helps you focus when you're distracted?
(C) 2016 Laura Packer