My kids were out of town this last Friday through Sunday. Earlier, when I first heard about this plan, the following crossed my mind: I’ll be home alone … chillin’ … no responsibilities … no taxi duties … some football … pizza … sleeping in … cold pizza … more football … popcorn … movie … jacuzzi …
Dang, maxed out that thought bubble.
Reality shows up and she’s whispering in my ear (yeah, Reality’s a “she” especially if there’s any ear whispering going on). I hate to break this to you, but there’s some things you’re neglecting. Remember that eBook you’ve been talking about writing? Those blog posts you’ve not published? And how about your website? Every day all the other “to-do’s” just keep cruising right past it. This could be your chance. This could be just what the doc ordered.
C’monnnn (great, I’m whining to myself). Okay, fine. You’re right. You’re always right!
For a while I consider these long neglected projects and what it would take to complete them. What could I accomplish if I took this weekend opportunity to cut out all distractions? (no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no blog hopping, very little phone, no visits, plans, events and so forth. Oh, and no football, no sleeping in, and, well … pizza’s okay).
What could I accomplish? I don’t know for sure.
And even if I do clear my slate, the bigger question might be, are these projects something I really want to do? Or might I actually be afraid to complete them?
We get stuck in patterns or habits. And sometimes it takes a decision to do something totally different in order to have them surface. Is that the case here?
There’s one way to find out.
I called it The Experiment: A Lesson in Refocusing. (hey, any crazy plan can benefit from a solid headline!).
I started out reading. Coffee. The usual. Checked email … for the last time, I hoped. Made last contacts and let customers and family know that I’m cutting myself off from society. Yes, a bit dramatic, I know.
Already I’ve the familiar feeling that I’m planning on trying to accomplish too many things. I’m also wondering if this plan will offer the necessary focus, or even make a difference.
Yep, I need to narrow down the items.
Can I be disciplined enough to laser focus on one thing? And another thought: If I don’t get all the things completed on my list will I have failed … yet again? There’s another script that sometimes sabotages my plans and goals.
Wow. The thoughts and doubts are distracting enough! Do I recognize those thoughts? Am I aware of how often they’re there? Or do I stay just busy enough to allow them to exist under the radar, to quietly drive my behavior? Hmm.
I find myself pushing away email newsletters I’ve subscribed to. So many hit my inbox each day. It’s surprising how easy it is to go from one interesting article to another. Next thing you know an hour or two is down the drain. I’m not going there today.
I still needed to complete some work on a logo and produce an email broadcast for a client. I then worked on a blog post until 9:30pm. Some news. Some Leno. Some sleep.
Email’s closed. And stayed that way. I only texted my kids, and at midday received one business “emergency” call that was quickly resolved.
In the morning I worked on setting up an affiliate page for my host, DirectNIC. And then I sought out potential WordPress themes for a current customer that wants to move to self hosted. Although these were on my list they weren’t at the top so after some time on them I got back to the project at hand.
Distractions come so freely, so easily and so often. They excuse me from items that are painted with doubt and help me to feel like I’m accomplishing something important, when the very opposite is too often the case.
I need to be far more intentional about what I allow to distract me.
In the afternoon I had to get out of the house. So I went to my second office, St. Arbucks where I updated this post, and for the rest of the day worked on my new business website.
I remained focused allowing me to really hit the zone while doing this work.
I went to church, yet wasn’t involved in any other activities.
My website took far longer than I’d expected. I worked on it throughout the day and into the late evening up until just before the kids got back. This focus allowed me to finally put it to rest, at least until I want to update it with new projects.
Sure, I’d planned on doing more. But I’ve got to say that it feels really good to get over this hurdle, this one thing that I’d neglected for far too long. And I stayed focused on it through to its completion.
I’m happy with the site and I’m far more willing to share it. And taking action, especially on challenging items like this, increases motivation and courage while decreasing the feeling of being stuck and drained of energy.
This experiment, well experience, has helped me to see more clearly the need to set aside an extended amount of uninterrupted time to focus on completing something important.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s a matter of feeling worthy of setting aside the time. Hmm.