Friday, February 25, 2011

Tracking My Time to Figure Out What in the World I'm Doing

This was a back door approach to better organization because I began by tracking my time for a few days (much as a Weight Watchers member is supposed to track every crumb of food and every drop of liquid consumed).

I thought if I was totally honest and wrote down every minute of work or play, I'd be able to find those free hours...or minutes...when I could be writing.

All I really learned is that I rarely focus on one task at a time and I'm easily distracted.

I open multiple tabs and hop from e-mail to my blog to Twitter to Facebook to other blogs.

If I see an interesting link in a blog post or on one of the social sites, I'm likely to click that link and head off to read something unrelated to my original task.

If the kitten meows or I hear a strange noise, I investigate.

The urge to get a cup of coffee is enough to pull me away from the computer and then I unload the dishwasher, rearrange the dust on the coffee table, and clean out the refrigerator from top to bottom.

And get another cup of coffee before I head back to the computer.

So I'm thinking tomorrow I'll try to work on one project at a time.

Today, in between tweets and updates, I need to write two blog posts, finish a short story, and complete four critiques. But first I'm heading downstairs to get another cup of coffee.

17 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Oh, I get distracted, too! And I think it's because like you, I have a lot of projects going at once, and keeping them all straight can be a challenge! Maybe one-at-a-time is something I should think about...

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I am the same, I start the day thinking I will answer all the comments first, then foolishly I go to face book get side tracked there, and that's how the day goes on.
Today I am keepiong up with my regime......up til now so hopefully may be more efficient.

Have a good week-end Patricia,
Yvonne.

Mary Vaughn said...

Is there an organization for ADHD writers? There should be.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If you figure out the focus thing, let us know!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Msrgot, Yvonnne, Mary, and Alex -- four of my many partners in procrastination -- thanks for your moral support.

I often think of the real creative successes and champions in this world and envy their commitment and focus. I've been able to call up those qualities for short "sprints" but never enough for a "marathon." To paraphrase a most famous quote, I keep taking detours and roads less traveled...and that's the difference.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good! I'm not the only one who constantly has to get up and check a noise because it's probably a cat doing something she's not supposed to do!

Arlee Bird said...

Me too. Me too. I am not alone. Not that I'm glad about it, but I guess I'm normal. I keep meaning to sit down and draw up a daily schedule to which to adhere, but that takes time as well and I don't know if I'd stick to it.

When you describe your distractions, I can relate. Focus can be so difficult when there is so much to distract.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Charlotte Hinger said...

Charlotte Hinger here--I've found that if I start my day answering email, etc. I'm doomed. Why? the pile of etc. is always endless!

Clarissa Draper said...

You sound just like me! That's they exact same problem I face.

Kay Theodoratus said...

One solution for getting distracted. Make time to be distracted. Maybe more useful, I add wiggle room for getting distracted.

Biggest help. Doing the writing before I do anything else.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Now I have to admit that the little list of things I meant to do today is still waiting. One of our sons came in from Cal. for an overnight visit and he spent the morning helping us get set up in Google voice. Bless his heart, I now have another process and program to distract me. I love new "toys". :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to hop from one activity to the next as well. It's very rare for me to work on any one thing for 30 minutes at a time. Product of teaching I think ... or maybe just my highly distractable brain :)

Mason Canyon said...

I love it that someone else is as easily distracted as I am. LOL

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. me too - the worst was when I was studying in my 40s .. anything except the work .. gardening, cleaning, cooking, etc etc - not helping my studies! Same now .. must write in the mornings and then do the rest - but I love to clear my decks and start things with a clean slate .. I'll get there - I did pass all my exams!!

Elizabeth Spann Craig wrote a similar article recently .. everyone's on the same wave length & A- Z is coming ... cheers Hilary

Mari G said...

I love this post, Patricia.
Maybe getting distracted is a writer "thing". Maybe all that effort to get the creative juices flowing puts our brains on red alert and we become hyper-conscious, noticing and wanting to do loads of other jobs!
Well, anyway, that's my excuse...
Great to know I'm not alone.
Mari

Terry Odell said...

Yesterday's RWA chapter meeting was all about time management. She gave some good tips, especially about prioritizing and procrastinating.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Kerrie said...

This is the story of my life...