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Journal Entry – 09/16/19

Distractions – life is FILLED with them. It’s easy to lose focus, be pulled off track, and before you know it you find yourself in the weeds someplace not quite sure how you got there.

I often have so many things going on in my mind, so many projects – little and big – that while I’m in the middle of thinking about one of them, something pops up and I lose my place.

Some people have the natural ability to retain many complex projects in their head and quickly flip back and forth between them without missing a beat. I’m not one of them. When I shift my focus (which can be quite intense), I sometimes lose my place with the previous project and returning to it requires a lot of mental effort. I thought this might improve as I get older, but reality seems quite the opposite.

Sometimes I find it helpful to simply take quick notes about the distraction so I can deal with it later. It gives my mind the security that I’ll come back to it so I don’t need to keep it queued in my brain wasting precious energy. I’ll make checklists with little check boxes so I at least have documented what I plan to deal with later, then I can return my attention to the current thing I’m working on.

Other times I’ll find that there are SO many different things vying for my attention that I’ll have to do a major brain dump in the form of a “mind map”. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, there are plenty of web sites out there to provide you with the basic information. There are even seminars and classes you can take that help you master this approach to documenting all of the thoughts that overwhelm you simultaneously.

By getting your many thoughts down on paper (or electronically) as quickly as possible, without any judgment or prioritizing, you can give your brain a break. Later on you can start to prioritize what is most significant, least significant, etc. I’ve found this to be very, very helpful when I’m overwhelmed.

Whenever you’re working on an important project, distractions will come calling. And when you’re working on multiple important projects, well… distractions seem to multiply. So maintaining focus is essential to getting anything accomplished.

Whether you’re at the right foot phase, the whole self, or somewhere in between, don’t let distractions keep you from moving forward. Keep at it. Stick with it. You can do this – In, out, shake, “Hokey Pokey”, turn yourself around, and repeat. You’ll get there in the end. 🙂

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