Tuesday, May 15

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I'll love ya tomorrow!

 Want a real procrastination distraction? Google the word "Annie". I did a quick search for an image to match the song stuck in my head. This started with a search for Annie the Musical and led to Annie Oakley, Annie Hall, and Annie the Movie. This led to IMDB to find out who that adorable actress was in the movie and what ever happened to her?!? Her name is Aileen Quinn and she really hasn't been in much else, movie wise, though she has been in several Broadway shows. She's also the lead singer of an L.A. based Rockabilly band called....wait for it....."The Leapin' Lizards."  If you didn't spend your childhood watching Annie, that might not mean much to you, but trust me, it's awesome. 

But that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. However, the concept of distraction has quite a bit to do with it. Often, we don't intend to get side-tracked, but our attention is grabbed. That article, game, song, etc. is small and inconsequential. It won't take very long. I'll get right back to my task as soon as I finish this. Of course, one distraction can easily lead to another. Even if it does not, we could be just 5 minutes away from a brand new distraction. Before we know what's happened, the one hour project has grown into a four hour project and we have to scurry for the last half hour to finish it.

One definition listed under the word distraction is "that which distracts, divides the attention, or prevents concentration."

Now, that just hurts for me to read. It immediately calls to mind Jesus' reminders that a house divided against itself cannot stand. When my attention is divided, I cannot give the focus needed to truly do my best.  But we live in an age of distraction; It is impossible to not notice them. What can you do? 

Lists are a helpful tool to keep me on target. I stock up on index cards and post-its when back to school sales start. Now, I have to be careful not to spend an hour making elaborate lists with pretty fonts and different color coding, stickers in the corners or charts on the computer. Yes, lists can be distractions in themselves. You're talking to a professional, remember? Keep the lists reasonable and brief. List only the imperatives. These help because you can glance and see a limited number of items that must be finished today. There is also an extreme satisfaction in drawing that line through each item you've finished. I'm one of those gals who will add a finished item to my list so that I can strike it out. You are too, right?

"...anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment." - Robert Benchley, Chips Off the Old Benchley, 1949 

 Lists don't work for everyone, of course. Sometimes you have to eliminate the distraction. If you have a list of things that don't leave any time for internet activity but you can't resist the temptation, send your power cord to work with your husband. Make an announcement that you will be off of facebook between the hours of such-and-such. Sure, you are still able to hop on there, but it's kind of embarrassing to go against your own word in front of witnesses. Humility is a great motivator. Also, keep in mind the other witnesses you have around your house. Your children see you work and they see you not work. Being raised with your habits, they may learn to justify behaviours if you are justifying your own in front of them. Do you want them to emulate your habits? I haven't had to resort to giving up my power cord....yet. Lists and reminders really do help me.  I keep them with me and tacked up beside my bathroom mirror, computer monitor, inside my coffee cabinet. I make lists of what  needs done. I make reminders. One of those reminders is a bible verse that I keep tacked up next to my mirror:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. - 1 Peter 5:8

I need reminded to stay alert. The enemy would love to see me fall into apathy, enjoying my comforts and distractions and never fulfilling God's call on my life. And, as you know, it's a hard-knock life.


Tools that help me:
1. Index Cards and Post-Its

2. Motivated Moms.  I'm a true rebel at heart and I'm amazed that I was able to accept someone else's housekeeping list since I tend to try rewriting everything I find, but I haven't changed a thing with this list. It's one that my kids can look at and mark off with me. It breaks everything down nice and easy. It's cheap at $8 and I've been using them for several years now. I do receive a 12% commission on purchases. 

3.Google Calendar. I have several different email addresses for different things. I have all of them imported into one gmail account (very easy to set up.) This gives me access to Google Calendar, which lets me instantly add events and reminders and alarms (I often set up as many as 6 different reminders for each event) every time I read an email giving me a deadline. It also allows me to import calendars from other people. I can add my husband's, my church's, and that of any one else who makes theirs public (not that I necessarily want to.) 

And, completely off topic, Carol Burnett is brilliant. It would be wrong of me to offer you a distraction now, wouldn't it? 

Be sure to check out more amazing topics being discussed by members of the 5 day blog hop!


Lis said...

OH, Jenn~ I'm right there with you! You've got some good suggestions! :)

Sara @ Embracing Destiny said...

Oh, I can relate to the distractions! I would've had my novel written 20 times over by now if I could just focus. Shame on me.

Just this morning, I was supposed to be publishing my post on "Little Women," but ended up reading about Louisa May Alcott and her time as a Civil War nurse. *sigh* I finally got my post done (with Civil War links included).

Walking Fruitfully said...

I also use index cards for lists. By the time I sit down in the morning to start my list, I have to include what I've already done. I can cross it off so I don't feel like I've spent hours doing nothing. That distraction thing --we refer to it as squirrel syndrome. Have you seen the movie Up? The talking dog? Yep, we get squirreled a lot around here. Your scripture references really hit close to home. I need that reminder that I'm doing more damage with my distractions than just taking longer to finish my daily work.

Cannot wait to read tomorrow--well, being the procrastinator that I am, maybe I can wait......

Andrea said...

I LOVE the movie "Annie", I LOVE Carol Burnett in it, and I LOVE to procrastinate! LOL I'm hoping someday we'll do "Annie", because I want to try out for the part of Miss Hannigan - even if she is a boozer! :) I think it would be totally fun to play someone who is SO not me!

Melissa said...

I think we may be twins! lol, love me some Annie!!

I absolutely add things to my list so I can mark them off!! And colors, and stickers - oh my!!

And oh how distracting this blog hop is!!

Jenn said...

I can't tell you how great it is to meet other gals who "get" me!!

Andrea, I've thought the same thing. Norwood school recently did Annie and it was fabulous. Such a fun part!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Woohoo!!! I've always said I work best with all the ball in the air at once. I've got the carpet fresh waitin' for the vacuum, the water's on in the cottage garden, the awful horrible greasy clothes of Farm Boy are soakin', the dishwashers runnin' and the pool filter is makin' my pool water clear again...and I'm on the stinkin' computer!!!

Does that count for sidetracked??? Heeehehehe!!!

I set a timer for things or I'd forget what I had goin' on. I often set a timer for computer time too...it'll suck me right in if I don't watch out.

This was a fun and insightful read sweetie!

God bless and have a most productive day....gotta run...timer's yellin' at me....... :o)

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