As of late, I’ve been writing every day. It has not only been a lesson in writing, but saying no to distractions. I didn’t learn until late in life that I could just say no because I simply didn’t want to. You don’t need or owe anyone an excuse to say no, you can just do it. For obvious reasons, you can’t do it in all situations, but you can most of the time for personal issues. If you’re working with others it’s clearly not a good choice to just say, No, without attaching a reason.
Saying no to distraction is a new thing for me. Anyone who knows me, or has for any length of time knows when I’m doing something that requires a lot of concentration, they don’t exist. I’m off in my own little bubble or what have you. I can see and hear you, but I’m too consumed in thought or action to respond. So… you basically get me, just staring at you blankly while you flail in your own importance and stew in your own words. I most likely heard you and have thoughts. I’m just incapable of responding because I just don’t have the bandwidth right now.
Recently though, in the past few weeks, I’ve started to completely ignore distractions while I’m doing something that requires me to stay deep in thought. I’m working on writing a lot and when I’m “in the zone” and have to pull out for a phone call or a conversation I get annoyed. What’s important to you, may not be important to me, at all. I’ll check out what the distraction potentially is and then make the decision to ignore it in favor of continuing work. Once I’m out of the zone, it’s often game over for a few hours at least. With writing, it’s horribly difficult for me to get back into whatever I was writing about. Getting back into *the mood* of writing is something I’m going to have to learn soon. I have a few hundred pieces of writing that are all in some form of half completed mess because I prioritize other people’s needs ahead of mine. It’s all fine and dandy, as they say, to care about other people if they take the time to call, but most of the time it’s not worth the distraction. I can’t tell you how many emergencies people are not having during the middle of the day that involve me in any manner, unless they’re client related. It’s practically innumerable… and by innumerable, I mean ZERO. The last time someone called me and it was an emergency that I was capable of dealing with was probably 8 years ago, and even then it was a friend who had passed away and there was nothing I could do about it. A friend passing away is nothing to sneeze at and may seem heartless as a reference, but it’s the truth.
So, for now I’ve realized that when I’m in the zone, sorry… I’m not answering my phone unless I get a bunch of calls in a row, or I know I’m needed and I’ve been expecting a call. I’m not going to look at text messages. I’m not going to answer my door or the front gate unless there’s screaming. It’s another short little lesson I wish I’d learned earlier in life that I hope will make me more productive and add to a feeling of fulfillment in my work and life as a whole. I have too many unfinished and abandoned projects to fill a lifetime. In fact, it took a lifetime to get here. A lesson learned late is still a worthy lesson to learn
Don’t let people distract you from your work or your passions, with their daily needs. Prioritize you.