Distraction Tactics

loudlyimightaddIt’s always the same.  I get fabulous ideas for blog posts during the week and then when it comes to Thursday and I can finally sit down to write them, the ideas have evaporated.  “Write it down”  I hear you say.  Yes, I know I should, but somehow I keep laboring under the misapprehension that my brain is better at retaining great ideas than it actually is.  My memory is rubbish.  I’m at the stage where I go upstairs and forget what I came for and sometimes even forget the whole point of what I was trying to…ooh look, a new Facebook post.  And yes, I get distracted.  I have joint first class honours in Getting Distracted and Mucking About.  But if you think it’s a new phenomenon, it’s not.  Crossing the Sinai Desert on foot takes 11 days – apparently (I’m not going to check). But the Israelites, when they were expelled from Egypt after that regrettable incident with the plagues, took 40 years before they got to their destination.  Some say this was due to Moses being a stubborn old goat and not asking for directions (typical man 😉 ).  But even if you don’t subscribe to the ‘God teaching them a lesson’ message, it’s a wonderful example of an entire people group getting distracted – BIG TIME.  In Christian circles (or squares, or triangles, or even dodecahedrons – some of us are very liberal about these things);  we refer to this 40 years in the desert thing as ‘ being the wilderness.’  Those times where you feel as if you’re aimlessly drifting about with no direction or purpose in your life.  Or God’s trying to get your attention to do something and for whatever reason you’re not cottoning on (new career over here, dangle, dangle.  Oi, cloth-ears!  Do I have to smack you in the face with this?).  I wouldn’t say I’m in the wilderness, because I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing; I’m just not very good at getting it done.

I’m quite well aware that I have a problem and I’ve been taking baby steps to try and sort it out.  Probably the most effective one would be to delete my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but as my social life is mostly conducted on there, I would rapidly turn into a very productive but very unhappy person.  Instead, I read Mark Forster’s book ‘Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play.’   I’m not a great fan of his writing style, but his methods in that seemed simple and sound.  It was published in 2000 and since then he’s gone on to develop things.  I did take a brief look at one of his more recent time management books and found his evolved system to be incomprehensible.  However, his first book contains much that I can use.  The first thing is using a timer.  12 hours of writing time can stretch out before me like a great sea of wonderfulness, but I have amazing skills to be able to fritter that away with aplomb.  Setting the timer on my phone for 50 minutes (with a ten minute break), means that I can have close to 1000 words down in a defined period of time.  That simple thing, writing or working against the clock, is helping me to focus on what needs to be done and still have a few minutes to re-fill my tea mug and argue with someone over Fifty Shades of Grey.  Ironically, that particular topic turned out to be very effective at getting me off social media!

Thing is, people fascinate me.  I can people-watch for hours and I love listening to or reading people’s comments about themselves.  I’m not making this up, either.  Everyone is far more interesting than I am.  The human experience never bores me and that’s why I like social media.  That and… yes, OK, I’m a nosey bitch  😉

I could try self-banishment, but I know I’d creep back on.  I’d be rubbish at giving Facebook and Twitter up for Lent and to be honest, I’d rather do something more meaningful in the time.  So managing it is the way to go.  Short bursts during the day so I don’t feel that I’m missing out.  Well, apart from the irritating algorithm Facebook has in place to determine who I see on my newsfeed. That annoys me so much!  What is wrong with giving me every status update from everyone in the time order that they were posted?   Not the games posts – I don’t want those.  Or the adverts.  Or the freaky stuff on the right that tracks you across the Internet and posts the thing you were looking at on another computer entirely.  But I’m getting distracted and my irritation with social media is a whole other blog post…  🙂

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