This afternoon I’ve been listening to some classic music from the 1970s and 1980s that took me back nostalgically to a simpler time – or one that can at least be viewed now at a distance through a simplification filter.What I set out to do this morning was firmly listed down, and I have ticked through a few of the items I had on a list that in reality was too long for the day I have at hand. I love the internet, having worked with it since the mid-1990s I can’t really recall a time before it was an essential part of my working and non-working day. I don’t usually listen to music when working as I get too involved with the music and less so in the work, and I am finding that in a similar way I am getting too involved with the content I am consuming online rather than that I am also creating.
I have blogged before about how lovely and distracting having two small children is, taking away some of the choice about how much time I spend on work versus supporting them as and when they need it; and I have still not found the answer to working successfully and without starts and stops through holiday times. This week my motivation has been at a low, as all the momentum I had built up in the last half-term seems to have dissipated in the space of the few half-term days which were precious and fun for the family but in the end not contributing to moving along my business as I should.
There is so much excitement and interest in finding new ideas and new people to share them with, and I have been learning so much from reading blogs and sites from others that I have been neglecting my own; so I need to start focusing better and planning out both my limited time and my own particular balancing act with a little more grace than I am yet managing. Engagement with others is a great way of finding inspiration and developing my own interests, but that should be a confined and targeted activity within everything else I am doing.
I am determined to crack this and improve my attention abilities, and to do this I need to stop flitting from site to site in search of more and further things I could do, avoid the online time drain, and instead focus on the handful of things I need to do in order to progress.
So I am taping up a list of my objectives where I can see it, writing down time I am spending on various activities so that I can see where the less-obvious time-wasting is happening, and shortening my to-do list to things I can achieve in short chunks so that I can see and appreciate my progress. I have also mapped out the hours of my days and picked up the odd hour here and there I can make use of consistently that was maybe less focused before.
One of the internet’s deepest attractions to me is its endless possibilities; but that very limitless appeal also holds the seeds of an infinite ability to drain time from the day if viewed without a set of focused priorities in mind. So for me it’s time to set my present-day simplification filter, and you will start to see the results as we go headlong through this term to the Christmas holidays.
What is your biggest non-productive time drain and how do you manage it? Do you have any tips on how to handle working for yourself and also parenting small children? I would love to hear in the comments below.