I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to get distracted, especially in a time when focus seems to be so hard to come by.
How many times have you sat down to write (or really, focus on any single task) only to find yourself opening a new browser tab every three minutes as your brain sends you idea after idea? (Note to brains everywhere: This is a clearly desperate attempt to avoid the task at hand. We see you.)
It happens to me often, and I get really frustrated because I want those ideas, but I don’t want to stop working or writing to chase those ideas.
For me, the answer is to make it incredibly easy to record my random thoughts as they appear. I pull out a notebook or a sheet of paper, or even just open up a blank document (though paper is better for me), and then every time something pops into my head (we need new sheets! Where is that platter we’re going to use for the party this weekend? Maybe I should start a new business—cat headbands would be all the rage!), I write it down and move on.
Later, usually at the end of the day, I deal with the list, whether that means adding an item to my to-do list or just doing a little research to see how good that cat-headband idea really is (spoiler alert: not good at all). And I often find that many of the ideas or notes have lost their original shine (since I’m giving them my full attention and they’re no longer just trying to distract me from my work) and can be crossed off the list with no action needed. I love how much time I save not chasing my thoughts down the new-sheets-must-be-organic-do-i-want-stripes-or-just-white-maybe-I’ll-hop-on-Pinterest-just-for-a-second-or-maybe-an-hour rabbit hole.
What do you do when the lure of an idea pulls you away from your work? I’d love to hear!
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