Timesucks and Other Distractions

There are a lot of timesucks out there. Commuting to and from work is one. The day job many of us have is another. Don’t forget the innumerable errands, chores and minutiae that make up our day: brushing our teeth, doing the dishes, laundry, making the bed. Plus the obligatory family events, bathroom breaks -- even sleep. It’s amazing we have any spare time at all!

So how do we find time to do what we really want to do?

This is no Readers Digest article, so I have nothing new to say, but I’ve been practicing simplifying as much as I can. I only watch TV when there is a particular show I want to see, rather than channel surfing. I set times after work where I don’t make any phone calls. And I carve out time to sit at my computer and plunk out sentences on the keyboard.

Sounds like a good plan.

But like any plan, it goes awry in practice. I found that while  I was technically sitting at my computer, I wasn’t writing. I’d get sucked into one of my biggest timesucks – the Internet. Oh, I’d think, I’ll just check my email. Or browse a few news sites. Or check out an interesting thread on reddit. And let’s not even go into the psychologically damaging treks into Facebook.

Sure, getting lost sometimes brings about nuggets of information and interesting bits I might use in a story down the line. But more often, it’s a distraction. The kind of distraction that pulls me out of my internet fugue only to find that what was supposed to be a two minute break has become a near hour down the rabbit hole of clicks and more clicks.

Have I beaten this distraction digression that eats into my writing time?

Sadly, I’m only human. But I do my best. I limit my use on social media, not only because it was a timesuck, but I also found I didn’t like the negativity or political rants.  Maybe it’s just me, but I often feel that even though people are active on social media, none of them are really connecting – it’s all about look at me or see what I’m doing that’s special (and by default, you’re not.) Are people really sharing their lives online? Or are they simply advertising their lives?

But this isn’t a social media rant.

It’s about doing things that make me feel good. And that’s what I’m trying to do: keep doing the good things while limiting the things that make me feel bad.

Strange how hard that can sometimes be.

For those of you who are interested, my next project is coming out early May, a young adult drama called Feel Me Fall. It’ll be up to you to see if I was distracted while writing it.