Anyone who knows me knows that I have the occasional spot of difficulty when it comes to time management. I am also a terrible procrastinator. I am definitely one of those people that takes forever when it comes to cleaning my room because I rediscover things I forgot that I had, like books, and end up reading them instead of completing my task. So, yes, I suffer from not infrequent distractions. Said distractions often plague me when I sit down and try to write for this site. Here’s a list of many of those distractions in no particular order.
I’ve discovered that it’s really challenging to do anything remotely useful when you’re hungry. My attention span just goes right out the window and all I can really do at that point is think about what I’m going to be stuffing my face with and when that magical moment will occur. A writer needs to eat. Without proper nutrition, I’m hardly functional.
Remember when I wrote about getting distracted while cleaning my room? That still happens to me. Sometimes, I decide to take breaks from what I’m trying to do and read a bit. Or I try to fit in one more chapter before bed. One chapter leads to another and the next thing I know, it’s been hours and I have no idea what happened. I know I’m not the only one who has that issue.
Thinking About the Future/Past/Stuff
I know I’m not the only one prone to a bit of naval-gazing. I’ll be in the middle of doing something and remember that I have this event I’m going to be hosting or attending. That leads me to wondering about the logistics or pondering what I intend to wear. Though my wardrobe primarily consists of nerdy t-shirts and a few pairs of jeans, I do have nice stuff and like dressing up from time to time. This, of course, leads to pondering my sartorial options. When I’m not thinking about clothes, I think about other logistics like food. Or I wonder who all might be there and if I’ve done anything awkward that might make social encounters a little more difficult. You can see how this just snowballs until it takes a near miracle to pull me back to whatever it was I was actually trying to do in the first place.
My mother trained my brother and I to do our homework in front of the television. She told us that we’d appreciate this learning experience later when we were in college with roommates and other distractions. Who were we to argue with parental logic? To this day, I can’t work in silence. Even when I’m at the office, I have to have an earbud in my ear to give me some background noise while I listen to the teleconferences and webinars. At home, I have my TV on more often than not. When I’m trying to get something done, I’ll put on a movie that I’ve seen a bazillion times before so I don’t get sucked into it. That sometimes fails. It definitely fails when I put in a movie that I haven’t seen before.
Like movies, TV shows are a big attention sink. Particularly on Tuesdays. If I haven’t gotten my list sorted out and everything by the time 9 o’clock rolls around, it’s a race to get things done between 11 and 12. My parents and I sit down at 9 to watch “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” followed by “Forever.” Try as I might, writing during commercials only gets me so far. I’ll master this time management thing on Tuesdays yet! You’ll see.
Contemplating the Meaning of Life
Don’t we all take a few moments here and there to think about who we are and what it’s all about? This doesn’t come up as often as some of the other items on this list, but it does happen to me. I’ll be working on something and something I write will set my mind to wandering. Next thing I know, I’m trying to solve some intangible mystery of existence. Fortunately, those moments pass swiftly and it’s not too difficult to try to get back on task.
You guys knew this was coming. Between Facebook, Tumblr, Wikipedia, YouTube, and chatting with friends, the Internet provides a metric butt ton of distractions. It also allows me to stream music that I do not yet have in my collection. So, you win some, you lose some. These days, though, I recognize the Internet for the distraction that it is and understand that I don’t have to poke at things just because there’s an update or notification. That stuff can wait. As for Wikipedia, well…some temporal sacrifices must be made in the name of research, but it’s helpful to set some sort of timer to pull yourself out of the depths of the Wikipedia cave in which you were just spelunking.
Pondering Various What-Ifs
Remember that bit about thinking about the future/past/stuff? This ties into that. There are days when I view most interactions as some sort of elaborate chess match with a variety of moves that will lead to all kinds of outcomes. There are moments when that consumes me. Other what-ifs that I tend to ponder are historical ones. Where would we be if the Roman Empire hadn’t collapsed? What would life look like if we hadn’t lost so much knowledge during the Dark Ages? What histories have we lost because the “victors” chose to tell only their own versions of the story? The list continues.
Now, this is something that happens because I want to get distracted. Maybe something has been bothering me for too long and I can’t think my way around it. That’s when I decide that it’s time to work on cleaning my room. Of course, cleaning my room these days is mostly just managing my piles of t-shirts and making sure that the boxes aren’t collapsing. Speaking of which, there’s a box I can see from where I’m sitting that looks like it’s seen better days. At least it’s not a load-bearing box. I should check on it, though. Later.
I like indulging in escapism. When I get home from work sometimes, all I want to do is lose myself in a game for a bit. Lately, it’s been mostly Bejeweled 3 or Sims 4, but I did just get Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor today and I really want to play it. In fact, I let myself muck about in it for about half an hour before guilt gnawed at me. I had to get this done. There have been hours that were frittered away because all I wanted to do was game instead of work. We’ve all been there.
Planning for Random Projects
While I know that it’s best to get some of the short-term stuff out of the way, I do get bogged down in trying to think too far ahead when I really should just focus on the task at hand. There are also times when I’m trying to sit down and write one thing when my brain decides that now would be an excellent time to think about that other thing I planned to write at some point in the future. Et tu, Brain? At least this distraction makes me feel like I’m being productive in other ways. So, that’s helpful. I guess.