Busyness – life distractions and your writing life…

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There simply isn’t enough time in the day. But is this actually true, or is this perception of a time famine, as it is often called, an illusion? Research shows that we often overestimate the amount of time we spend working. And the busier we think we are, the more we overestimate.

Timothy Caulfield

One of the more difficult aspects of establishing a writing practice is wrestling with the time paradox which could be described as being too distracted to actually get the work done. Putting your words on paper is a fairly critical piece of actually doing the work of writing. But how often do we allow our “busyness” to get in the way.

Writing coaches, how to get it done manuals, podcasts, etc. seem to have proliferated in the past few years. Edicts such as write for just ten minutes a day or write 500 words a day or set your intentions by having writing goals or to have a clear plan – there are so many pieces of advice for writers, it seems this need has created a cottage industry in and of itself.

It is a strange phenomenon that research shows the busier a person is or reports to be, the more status they have. “Busyness bragging” is a thing. How often have you asked someone how they are doing and they reply by sharing how busy they are? And for most of us it truly seems that we are way too busy. Studies show that the actual amount of time spent working is much less than we believe.

Why? There are so many things that grab our attention and distract us. Email, social media, texting, chat groups, scrolling through news feeds, reading newsletters about writing, and the usual aspects of life like family obligations, socializing, eating, exercising, sleeping…the list goes on.

And it does seem exhausting when our focus is directed on everything around us except the writing work we would like to be doing. Then, when we take the time to reflect on what we have been spending our time on, the most likely result is to “beat” ourselves up for not doing what we truly wish to be doing. So the path of least resistance is simply to say, I’ve been too busy to write.

Finding a path to establishing a process that will assist us in meeting our goals is likely not a one time thing. Being vigilant, finding your own personal motivation to accomplish what you want to requires both commitment as well as energy and effort. Finding people in your life who can support your goals and listen to you when you experience challenges, is critical.

Distractions will always be present in our lives. Perhaps the trick is just to acknowledge that those times exist, be okay and at peace with that, and then seek out ways to work around them and write.

Stay healthy and safe!

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