A few weeks ago I wrote about my working-from-home schedule. It’s not perfect. It’s better than when I was in the cubicle, for sure, but I still have a lot of tweaking/perfecting/adjusting I want to do. We’ve been reading Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction by Leo Babauta for the January/February selection of the L&R Book Club, and I think one of my main issues with my work from home schedule is I am not sacred about my focused working time.
I allow email and Instagram and catching up to interfere with the hours I have allegedly set aside for creating. But I need to make that time sacred. Because, really … “If you’re someone who creates, in any way, focus should be important to you” (Focus page 15).
The problems focusing for me have been ….. numerous.
1) There is WAY too much that I want to do. From getting a piano and re-learning how to play so I can write a song or 2 … to writing a novel (or 3) … to growing Lemon and Raspberry and launching new mini-sites… to helping Andrew grow his record company … to traveling …. to taking care of the house… to reading for fun… to finding time to work out…. And those are all just off the top of my head. I don’t have time for all that!
2) There is WAY too much that I want to learn. The Internet is a black hole of distraction for someone like me who just wants to learn everything I can get my hands on. I have close to 20 tabs open right now. Which of course doesn’t include all the free (and paid) ebooks I have on my computer and the social media interactions I’m trying to ignore while I write this.
3) There is WAY too much of a social expectation to be available. I didn’t really want a smartphone before I got it. I didn’t want to have email everywhere I went. Now I find myself thinking, oh I can ‘work’ a little this weekend when I am out of town for fun. I feel like I’m expected to reply to every Instagram comment, not to mention commenting on blogs of friends and colleagues, keeping a Facebook and Twitter account up to date and all the email all of that entails.
Here’s my goal:
Find AND tooth-and-nail PROTECT my best 20 working hours.
I know when my best hours are (from when I wake up til noon or so). Which means I need to block everything that is not creative work from those hours. It’s not always possible (mostly work for Maggie or emails sneak in), but if I can do my creative work from about 6:30a to 11:30a every morning that is 25 hours of solid FOCUSed work each week. And all out of the way before the day really gets started and people make more demands on me.
I have been trying to stop doing any housework during that time (dirty dishes stare at me all the time), and I need to get better about not checking email during that time. And I need to stop caring about what I perceive to be expectations from others. I have only been posting on Instagram once every other day or so, in the last few weeks. And nothing has died or blown up as far as I know. I’ve got a few other hurdles that I need to fix/remove before I can really perfect this schedule, but as long as I know when my FOCUS time needs to be, I think I’m on the right track.
Danielle LaPorte does full focused DAYS, but I think I will work better by having hours every morning set aside. For now at least. How lovely to ignore the world 5 days a week if I could!
More resources on focusing:
- A Day without Distractions: Lessons learned from 12 hours of forced focus
- The Pomodoro Method
- Keeping focused and on task
- how to love the inevitable pain of getting focused
- How I’m minimizing distractions and getting more done
- entrepreneurial time management
- 10 thoughts on focus
Once I get that down, I need to prioritize and FOCUS on what I want that 20 hours of work to be. But that’s a whole other post for another day.
What are you doing to block off sacred FOCUS time for your creative work?
Come join the L&R Book Club for more talk about FOCUS this month!