When I left Corporate America April of 2019, I never thought the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur would be managing distractions. I remember being motivated and ready to write the next great novel of our time. But then…
“Dad! Come look at this…”
“Can you help me with this…”
“I just need you for one second…”
What is a distraction?
If you’re the creative type on the day to day, I have a question for you. When you are in your creative space, whether it be painting, writing, or any other creatively expressive form, do distractions completely derail you? I often will sit for 5 minutes getting my thoughts sorted and ready for paper before I start.
Once I start writing, if anything pulls me away from that train of thought, it takes me a minute to get back into it. And as cute as Timothy is in the photo, he can be a big distraction. To me, a distraction is anything that pulls my attention from my creative space even if it is just for a second.
Managing Distractions started managing me
I made a decision that I would not let the distractions derail me from producing content. The way I went about this was to build schedules and find space for me to create without distractions. Or so I thought.
It was perfect. I would drop two of the kids off at school and the other two had daily chores and rewards that kept them out of my hair. Schedule one proved to be too complicated. The second schedule proved to not fill the day. My third attempt created more questions than solutions and thus the distractions continued.
Managing distractions ended up being a distraction itself. I discovered after many months of frustration that no matter how hard I tried, the distractions would keep coming. Then I read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
Does it really matter?
I discussed this book the other day in my book recommendations blog, so I won’t go into too much detail. But one major point Pressfield makes is that Resistance to pursue our creativity comes from within and not from without.
What I took from this is that when we give in to the distractions around us, we are limiting our own creativity. It is not Jess‘ fault that she has a question and it is not the kids‘ fault that they need me to help solve a problem for their business. The fault is the internal battle that I have with my creativity that allows these distractions to manage me.
It took me over a year to truly understand this point and even today while writing this blog post, I was challenged. I discovered that distractions are not really distractions at all, but an attempt for the Resistance to derail me from my purpose. So if I can learn to tap into my creativity despite my surroundings then I win. If I let the distractions rock me out of my boat, then I have lost.
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