Have you ever found yourself looking at your to-do list — that long, ever-growing list — and saw the next task on the list was the big hairy thing that you just didn’t want to do. Like you’d rather get a root canal than have to do that ONE task. So the next thing you know you find yourself doing laundry, cleaning the baseboards, scrubbing the grout in the shower – basically anything you can do to distract yourself from that one thing that you’re just, well, avoiding. I like to call it creative avoidance. It’s a term I heard many years ago and gosh am I good at it.
Creative avoidance feels I don’t know, less lazy, less like you’re procrastinating — because you are doing something. Whatever that something is probably does need to get done, but not necessarily today.
Life is full of distractions — from kids pulling at your shirt while you’re trying to get that one work email sent out to the mounds of laundry staring you in the face every time you walk into your bedroom. Those distractions sometimes lead us astray from what we were hoping to focus on in that hour. Then three weeks later, that big hairy thing on your to-do list is still there. #facepalm
As women, I believe we are always looking left and right, comparing, getting distracted by those around us who seemingly have what we are striving for. Maybe it’s their clean house or that they seem to have it all together. And we get distracted from what we really need to be focusing on — ourselves.
A few months ago I went to my weekly yoga class. I stepped outside of the room before class started and when I reentered, the room had filled with people — more than the average class at this studio. The new faces were a group of women in town for a bachelorette party. I didn’t think much of it, other than how fun that was that they decided to do a yoga class while in town. As we started flowing through class, I quickly realized that the majority of them were new to this and I got distracted. I started swaying, falling out of postures.
It’s hard to stay centered and balanced (literally, balanced on one leg) when the person to your front and both sides are falling over. I was not frustrated by this at all. Instead of allowing myself to be distracted by the movement surrounding me, letting the voices in my head get to me, I first acknowledged to myself that I have been that person in the class, and used it as an opportunity to challenge myself mentally. To dig deep and truly focus on me, my breath, and what I was trying to do. I started to realize how much this applies to the world outside of the yoga studio.
That class was probably one of the best classes I have been a part of in a long time because of the mental challenge it gave me. There are distractions everywhere, especially running a business. It’s easy to focus on what others in the same field as you are doing. Focusing on being your authentic self and your own goals feels SO freeing!
Quiet the Noise
Another example? This blog post. I have started and stopped writing this post several times. I’ve either had too many windows open on my computer and see that blinking message on Facebook out of the corner of my eye, or my phone rings or the washer beeps that it is done (and I don’t feel like forgetting it AGAIN, having to rewash the same load for the third time). Yep, distractions.
I have found myself having to listen to my own advice that I give others. When you are focusing on a task, focus just on that one task. Do whatever you have to do to have an allotted amount of time to yourself to finish it. It is shocking how much you can accomplish in a shorter amount of time when you are completely focused.
“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” – unknown
I challenge you…
…to take on that big hairy task that has been a weight on your shoulders, whether it’s personal or for business. TODAY. Not tomorrow, not Monday.
…to focus on you, your goals, your dreams. Not your best friend, not your sister, not your mom. YOU.
…to give yourself permission to take care of yourself.