Most days I work from home and I can “work.” My 4 kids like to create new challenges to see how fast and efficient I can get through my project list, reply to emails, and keep up with instant messenger. I like to multi-task, but the kids create a new type of ultra event.
On the days I really want to get writing done, I will either go to the local coffee store or sit outside in 19 degree temps while it snows. Either would provide a better environment for focusing. Putting on headphones works for a little while, but I get too distracted by what song I should be listening to.
For most tasks, I can easily jump in and out. Following up on where my team is on a project, checking the number of support tickets, replying to emails, creating a list of ideas for the next chapter … all good. These are items that are short in time or don’t require an immediate reaction. If I need to run out of my home office because I just heard “don’t put my head in the toilet!” from upstairs, I can.
Writing chapters of a book or content that will live longer requires more focus for me. While I need some level of distractions, I’ve learned which work. Disconnecting from the internet and going into solitude does not work for me. People engaged in their own conversations and priorities strike me as interesting. I need to have some energy around me that helps keep my mind moving.
To my surprise I’ve found similar distractions work in running as well. In the beginning it was music with a specific playlist order. Then I changed it listening to a radio station for the random selection. Then I ran my first ultramarathon with no music. That’s 13 hours of going through the woods with nature and my thoughts. Both can be a little scary, but can be used to your advantage when working together.
There is more music and rhythm around us, but we seem to move too fast to notice it lately. We are constantly looking for that next piece of technology that will allow us to get more done. Possibly we are missing the point. The world and the universe is filled with chaos. Instead of always fighting chaos, look for it. Find ways of harnessing it’s energy and riding along. There is something to be seen, but unless you lift your eyes from the screen, you will miss it.
Instead of always reacting to chaos, start understanding it. There’s a chance the reason there is chaos is because of something you’re doing.