By Karen Mehringer
In our modern day society, distractions are everywhere, vying for our attention, keeping us from what is truly important and our higher purpose. Lately, I have felt more and more overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail that comes through my inbox on a daily basis. By attending to all of this e-mail…determining what to read and what to delete, responding to messages, clicking on links, etc., I have noticed that my mind has become accustomed to over-stimulation. When it is time to turn off the computer at the end of the day, I have a hard time sitting still and being at peace. I play free cell on John’s computer while dinner is cooking or I pace trying to find things to do like balance my check book or read mail. A feeling of restlessness and general dissatisfaction underlies my behavior, as if a void is trying to be filled. The end result is that my creative projects have taken a back seat and it’s more difficult for me to be fully present with myself and the people in my life.
Last February, I decided to join a Writer’s Success Group to assist me with being more focused on my writing. We have monthly phone meetings and weekly e-mail check-ins to report on our progress. Each month, we commit to our goals for the next month. Two of my goals include not checking e-mail before a writing session and keeping the phone turned off until I am done. As I implement these goals, I have become more present and better able to hear my inner creative voice. My writing is beginning to flow again and I feel more empowered and on purpose.
What keeps you distracted from your creative endeavors and from living your life to the fullest? Is it watching TV, checking e-mail, talking on the cell phone? Here are some tips to help you stay focused:
- Keep a journal and pay attention to how you feel after being on the computer or watching TV. Does your mind feel over-stimulated and easily distracted? Do you feel restless and dissatisfied?
- Practice setting boundaries and see what happens. For example, turn off your cell phone while driving or when having a conversation with a friend. Cut back on the amount of time you spend in front of the computer and watching television. Record what you notice.
- Find a friend who is willing to be an accountability partner. Check in with each other on a weekly basis sharing how you did with your goals. Or, hire a life coach to assist with staying focused.
By simplifying the distractions in our lives and what we allow into our minds, we are more present, our creative voice emerges and we are able to live on purpose.
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.” – Richard Halloway
“Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.” – Stephen Covey
“You can’t leave footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt – and who wants to leave butt prints in the sands of time?”
– Bob Moawad