Some days, especially those when your to do list is long and daunting it is really easy to get distracted by, well virtually, anything!
Today has started like that for me. Actually it started yesterday.
I woke with a headache which was determined to destroy my concentration; I had a son on half day at school (so clock watching to make sure I didn’t forget to pick him up) and a husband working from home. (This is a change in circumstances for us for two days a week, which I am still adjusting to.)
I unconsciously started working on stuff I find easy. Stuff which doesn’t need to much thinking about. Which is another way of saying I faffed with items which are so low down my to do list that they are barely on it.
I didn’t achieve anything I needed to do.
Which means the pressure is on to be productive today.
Then I remember.
Facebook have introduced a new feature, only currently available in the UK and California (strange mix but nice that we get something in the UK first!) and for those with an Apple mobile device.
I tick both of those, and I want to give it a try. My ‘to do’ list is temporarily forgotten in ‘squirrel’ style.
In Harry Potter, speaking picture style, you can (if you meet the above criteria) have a 7 second video instead of a picture for your Facebook profile picture.
I’ve just spent way longer than I should have at this.
It took a while to decide what to say. Anyone who knows me knows that limiting myself to talking for 7 seconds is the hard part here!
I decided to stick with a simple polite ‘hello and how are you?’ Hopefully that won’t offend anyone!
(On Youtube it looks like I had my phone the wrong way – but if you look at my Facebook profile (https://www.facebook.com/NixiSmith) you can see that is how they crop them!)
For some inexplicable reason I thought it would be more interesting to walk into shot, which was more of a challenge than I thought it would be, instead of simply be sitting there . Actually it isn’t inexplicable. I don’t like the inevitable jump in a looped video, so I thought starting and finishing with the same wall would create a smoother transition.
I’m concerned that the end result is a little ‘fake’. I could rerecord, but to be honest that to do list is smirking at me and surely any video used as a profile pic will come across as a little insincere. I have to tell myself it is good enough.
The smirking to do list has stopped and it is now a very loud holler.
If I’m not careful I won’t achieve anything today as I worry about that darned ‘to do’ list.
It’s time to prioritise. I know I won’t get everything done today, and I will drive myself loopy if I try.
It is now time for me to let it go. It is time to take the pressure off myself, and most definitely not put it on.
Just knowing this helps and I relax. Time for a cuppa and to get started on the first task.
Why and I telling you all this? There is a reason!
Because I know this isn’t just me. One way or another it is something we all go through.
Things happen, things that drain your time, your precious time, that sadly can’t be reclaimed.
Whether it is a health issue, or family circumstances or distraction on Facebook or the art of perfection that means you don’t stop until a task is perfected regardless of how long it takes, time has a habit of disappearing and the to do list looms large behind us.
We then feel guilty that we have wasted time, chide ourselves with ‘we should have…’ and get frustrated with ourselves that we haven’t completed our to do list. Which simply wastes more time, and we have our own personally destroying vicious circle going on. Nice!
Our concentration on tasks is diminished as we worry about what else it is we still have to do and achieve and that has one of two results.
Either we rush everything and do everything badly, or we give up and hate ourselves for it. Hate is a strong word, we may only be mildly annoyed but either way you berate and scold yourself, and the pressure increases for another day.
This pressure then undermines our confidence too.
That snarky voice in our head, the one that holds us back starts saying things like ‘see I told you, you weren’t cut out for this’ or ‘if you can’t keep on top of your to do list, how on earth do you think you’ll be able to run a business’ or ‘why are you bothering with all this anyway?’
Which of course is all complete and utter rubbish, but when we are feeling down and out it feels so real. And destroys the confidence we have fought hard to build.
So what to do instead?
First accept that you are a busy person who has numerous calls on your time, which often will take you away from that nagging to do list. That is perfectly normal.
What isn’t normal is to be able to achieve everything amongst all these distractions. You are not super human, so don’t try to be.
Remember you are in control of the ‘to do’ list. It doesn’t control you. So what if you have to juggle a few things here and there?
Consider instead having a ‘Ta Dah’ list. I’ve written about these before and they are magic.
Amongst the faffing and distractions and ‘stuff’ you may have achieved something. It is time to acknowledge that. It may not be business related, but does that really matter today of all days?
Even if you have not been feeling great and you have simply allowed yourself a chance to rest and recuperate, you needed that. You deserve to look after yourself. Don’t feel guilty for it.
For me, over the last two days I have rested (and feel much better for it), updated the home page of my website and discovered and put into use a new Facebook feature. (And written this blog post.)
Doesn’t it feel better to think nice things about yourself?
(Have you noticed that an added bonus of being kind to yourself also silences that snarky, confidence destroying voice?)
Now, it really is time to take control of the list.
Prioritise a task or two, the rest will wait and you can relax. Sadly I don’t mean relax into a warm, delicious bubble bath with a glass of something nice, but you can relax and allow yourself to concentrate on the work you need to do. It is a far nicer way to work than feeling flustered, rushed and guilt ridden.
One last thing. You also need to learn that ‘good enough’ is often enough.
You need to know when to give your self-permission that a task is complete, so you can move on to the next task. For me this is especially the case when it is creating something like a Facebook profile video.
Over thinking and over complicating and worrying just slows you down. You don’t need that know.