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Monday, November 2, 2009

Amidst Chaos and Distraction

(image: Finding Peace Amongst Chaos, by JessicaJoy)

We all know that even the smallest distractions can be bothersome. Whether it be the nagging little annoyances around the house (the kitchen sink is filled with dishes again, or you pull a book off the shelf only to get a face full of dust and now you are wiping down EVERY surface in the house just to be rid of those clingy little dust bunnies), or the surprises that creep up in your email, ensnaring your curiosity and driving you just a little further off course (a new sale at your favorite shop, or a note from a friend, or a fan!), there is always something lurking around the corner ready to dismantle your entire to-do list.

When you are self-employed (or, in my case, out of work and struggling to get by on freelance work until something new and better comes along) it is often too easy to let the distractions become completely overwhelming! After all, there is no one (but yourself) to keep you on track, set your hours, and push you toward a deadline! Some days, as hard as you may try to resist them, you even lose the battle with these diversions and allow yourself to be pulled astray, and then before you know it, the day has passed and you have not gotten a single productive thing accomplished! Oh no!

And, well, we all know that it is not uncommon for me to be distracted here and there by any number of things (a sudden craving for fudge brownies, an unexpected inspiration, an email – or a phone call), but over the past few weeks it has been a constant struggle to do anything but chase these distractions down. For the first few days I sank a lot of energy into resisting them, but after a while I decided to just give-in and see where they would take me.

I admit, at first, I did little more than listen to music, write emails to friends, and spend entirely too much time stalking my friends' Facebook pages.... but once that was out of my system I ended up spending the rest of the week in the kitchen stocking the fridge with hearty meals, in my workroom designing (and making) some new jewelry for Graceful Elements, and just letting my mind wander and letting all that chaos just work itself back out.

I was surprised that I did not get secondarily distracted by tidying tasks around the house, and since I didn't do much writing (obviously, you will have noticed the lingering silence here), I also managed to avoid many of the distractions I run into on the web (frequently checking email, browsing pages of handmade treasures on ETSY, or reading the most recent postings from my favorite bloggers – and envying their ability to ... stay on task). But by turning off the computer (and the TV – and my phone), I did manage to finally clear my head, develop some coherent trains of thought, and reinvest myself in my goals and aspirations.

Obviously, I have yet to find some magical cure for this recurring lack of focus, but over the past week I have discovered that sometimes it is beneficial to wander along an unplanned path, to allow yourself to be open to new possibilities and new opportunities, and that you can surely find inspiration in unexpected places …

So long as your eyes are open (and looking in all directions).


So, what little things do you do to keep distractions in check? Or do you let yourself stray from the task at hand to pursue the unanticipated adventure?


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