So, this week has been a blur. How is it that some weeks we spend just chasing our tails for them always to be elusively beyond reach? Each evening I sat down to work promising myself that I would find 28 minutes to write. My reward when I finished the tasks I had to do for the next day. I have a habit of looking at the clock in the corner of my computer screen and things usually go like this: I see that it is only 8.30pm. “Yes!”, I think, “I will get to bed before midnight, Plenty of time to write, once I have finished creating this resource, working on this policy, updating this website.” And then I glance again and find to my disappointment that it is already 11.30 and I still haven’t finished. I don’t think I am a slow worker, in fact, I know I am not. But I am not very good at focussing on one thing at once. I get sidetracked, and I know that the internet, social media and emails, don’t help me stay on task. Not to mention books, television and researching where we can do our next training walk or planning holidays.
These are some strategies I have tried to avoid distractions;
- Working in a room alone, no noise, no TV
- Closing all tabs except the thing I am working on so I can’t click on them accidentally
- Putting my phone in another room or switching it off so I don’t hear notifications and I am not tempted to pick it up and look at it
- Having a post it note on my screen with the task I am supposed to be doing written on it to remind me that that is what I should be focussing on.
They don’t work. Well, they do for a short time but then I get bored of being alone, my mind starts to wander and I open Twitter to see what is happening in the world, Or I get up to stretch my legs, load the washing, take a washing off the line, fold it, put it away, make a cup of tea, load the dishwasher, unload it, clean the kitchen, the bathroom… Not all of these things at once ore even on the same evening, of course but you get the idea of how my work is interrupted. And then I notice my phone, pick it up, see the notifications, look at them and spend half an hour following links from tweets and FB comments.
But then, I wonder if I am in the right frame of mind to work? Is the evening after a busy day at school the most effective time to work? I can’t focus fully on work when I know there are so many other things that are competing for my time and attention and which I really want and need to do. Some of my distractions are the realities and necessities of daily life, of motherhood, of family life. I am torn between my family and my work and my play. I wouldn’t be without any of them. But I sometimes wonder how I can get the balance right. Work deadlines, the demands of my students, their parents and school, seem to shout louder than my family. And what ends up giving is my family, my home and me. Not work.
Somehow, I have to get better at this whole work-life balance thing. Not sure how. Maybe I need to try to do less, better?