Weeding Out Distractions
The smell of spring, a mixture of dirt and rain, brings me back to life after the months of snow and ice. My to-do list grows with thoughts of what flowers and vegetables I want to plant this season. The dream of my magazine-worthy garden is fresh in my mind, with no thought of the weeds that require hard work. Weeding is the part of gardening I dislike. But it is the backbone of any garden. Weeds start as a distraction to the beauty of the freshly planted seeds and plants. If left unchecked, they will take over and even kill.
Distractions are the weeds of our dreams. The ritual of spring cleaning refocuses one to take stock of what is no longer needed, to toss, keep or throw out. I need to weed out the distractions that are pulling me from my goals and my focus. This is the time to decide what you want to be achieving right now in your life.
At the close of each month, I write my next month’s goals in a journal. My goals focus on writing. This method can apply to any type of goal. My goal for April is to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo and write 25,000 words towards my book. I divide that goal into 833 words a day. That is my writing focus for April. I use my writing journal daily to keep the weeds out, to stay focused. Whatever time frame you want to focus on. Keep it simple and realistic.
Besides my writing journal, I hung several square cork boards in my writing space. Those boards greet me at my door as a reminder (hey, this is what you need to write today!). On the boards, a type of vision board, I post my goals for the year and include my monthly goals from my journal. I include inspirational quotes and mementos, like positive feedback from professors and fellow writers. This space is my writing garden. To keep my goals growing, I remind myself to weed out the distractions.
Start with devices, like the cell phone. When I’m writing, and during family time, I keep my phone in a different space. Gasp, I have removed all social media apps except Instagram and Twitter. Twitter can be a loud distraction, but it also can be a supportive tool in the writing community. To weed out the distraction within Twitter, I mute topics, like politics, to keep the environment positive.
During this time of weeding, I spend time in my ever-growing bookshelves. I weed through the stacks of books. Make a pile for those to borrow to friends, donate and keep. That way, I have room for more books (oh yes!). It’s about removing the old to bring in the new picks.
After weeding (are we ever done?), tend to your garden. Relax and enjoy what is growing outside of the dreams and goals. Right now, in my stage of life, I have two teenage boys. Outside of my writing goals, is making memorable time with my family. We have limited time at home with them.
Make family goals. In Covid-world, we have gone through a reset as extracurricular activities paused. It forced family time with distance learning during different periods of lockdown. We’ve shifted the focus on what matters most, making memories with our boys before they are out of the house full-time.
- Homemade pizza night. Each person makes their own specialty.
- Themed movie nights, 80s sci-fi, to all the superhero movies in chronological order.
- Discover local parks-everyone takes nature pics along the way.
- Exercise challenges-walking, biking, etc. Awarding the winner of the most miles biked or walked a gift card.
Don’t forget self-care. What activities do you enjoy on your own? It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you feel you must work on your goals every single minute of the day. No. You will break under that pressure. Books are my pleasure. I’ve always turned to books to escape into. They are my release. My joy. And my other love is baking. It’s a calming activity for me (unless it doesn’t turn out right), and it makes my boys happy, so it’s a win-win.
Weed out the wasted activities like spending an hour going down the rabbit hole of a social media account. It’s easy to sit there and click away. Make mindful time for your dreams and goals and weed out the rest.
Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash