According to a study covered by the New York Times, it takes someone about 10-15 minutes to get back on track after getting distracted.
So, that seemingly innocent text message you send, or the question you stop to ask Google, can be a total time suck.
For example, I was writing earlier with multiple tabs open in my browser, my phone next to me and a long to-do list on my mind. In the middle of getting my work done, I got a shipping notification from Amazon. This reminded me I still needed to get a travel umbrella for my vacation to Japan that’s coming up soon.
Well, I bet you know where this is going…
An hour and a half later I did find an umbrella but hadn’t committed. I found killer boots, cleared my spam folder, looked at the pocket shark, then tried to take a picture of my dog’s nose (which at just the right angle looks like the pocket shark) and made some tea.
I hadn’t been writing, I was officially derailed and at the whim of multitasking and distractions.
Distractions and Multitasking Hurt Us
Distractions can give us instant satisfaction and they can be a siren song of sorts.
Multitasking can feel like we are getting more done, when we really are not. Multitasking causes stress, it exerts more energy than if we did things one at a time.
However, we are so used to multitasking and getting distracted that there isn’t a lot of motivation to stop. In fact, it’s kinda fun sometimes.
However, ultimately, the problem is that we spread ourselves thin. The amount of time we have to do our creative work suffers. The work that matters to us, the work that is on our heart, doesn’t get done or doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
At the end of the day, doing many things at once, or following the call of distractions, won’t fill us with the satisfaction of having written. When we do our work with focus and intention we feel full, accomplished and proud.
The Art of Mono Tasking
Monotasking asks us to make a decision about what we are doing in the moment and commit to doing just that.
Simply put, do one thing at a time.
Writing is a series of in the moment actions strung together.
One letter at a time.
One word at a time.
One sentence at a time.
Allow everything else to fall alway.
Doing so, you get more done. Your creativity expands. You focus, you ground and spend more time in the flow.
Monotasking Your Writing Practice
A challenge to monotasking is a lack of commitment and planning for your writing time.
I have found that I get more accomplished when I make a plan, get clear about the one thing I am committing to doing, and get my distractions in check.
To help us both out, I have created The Productive Writer’s Prewriting Checklist. Check it out HERE and distract yourself with this instead of the pocket shark.
Over to You:
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.