Thursday, July 30, 2015

Distractions by Terry Burns

We have coffee each morning out on the front porch. Usually a neighbor or two come join us. We kinda line out our day to get the most out of it. If the wind dictates we often do back deck instead. Usually we watch the sun come up out there.

Front or back deck I see the things that need to be done while I'm sitting there and the priorities of what I have to do often get re-arranged. If I am going to do something outside I have to start early and finish mid-morning when it starts getting very hot.

The things that need to be done are a distraction from what I need to do as an agent or writer. Necessary, or it will entirely get away from me, but a distraction. This morning I was aware of how many distractions there are vying for my time. Our kids have grown up and gone so I can't claim that one, but we have two dogs that demand a lot of attention and care.

Facebook, twitter and other social media are a distraction and we talk about that a lot . . . generally on facebook or twitter. Some degree of interaction there is a necessity but do we spend too much time there, or in the task of promoting ourselves and getting our name out there, too little? Interesting question and one we talk about a lot.

Then there's the list. You know, THE list. Honey-dos, things that need to be done that I don't want to forget but are not as important as something else on my plate at the time. Priorities on this list seem to constantly shift as things are moved forward or back in relation to other things. A lot of things would fall through the cracks without this list but it is always there, nagging me, demanding time.

The world is a big distraction. What is happening in our country and the world at large is hard to ignore. But we can control the amount of time that we allow it to intrude on our thinking.

I have responsibilities to the family, to church, to friends and neighbors and along with responsibilities come tasks and demands on my time. My in-box is a distraction and has to be dealt with, but it is also an important link to my clients and what I need to be doing for them. Most of the time they all need something, and priortizing who to work on can be quite a problem.

It can take a full day to work up a submission, go through my publisher database and get submissions out on a client. With sixty clients that would seem to suggest taking two months to work my way through, but as with other things, nothing is quite that simple. External forces and industry communications can force a client to the top of the list or away from it.

There are submissions coming in from people who would like me to represent their work. How long each of them takes depends on how long it takes to come to a decision as to whether it is a fit for me or not. Yes, I do respond to each one, momma raised me to be courteous.

There's a lot more but you get the idea. All of these forces pulling on me, decisions to be made on the allocation of my time. All of this makes me . . . well . . . normal.

We all have things competing for our time. In fact it is an old saying that "Life expands to fill available time." We just have to be smart about how we do the allocating so that time gets applied to what is most important to us.

How about it? What are the demands on your time? We have 24 hours a day to spend and there won't be any more made available. Are we truly spending it on what is important to us?


Linda Glaz said...

Whenever we get a gorgeous MI day, warm day cool night, I'm distracted by all the beauty. I want to be outside enjoying it. SIGH, and sometimes I sneak out there and do a bit of work. Love it!

Susan F. Craft said...

In addition to all the distractions you listed, I added one this week by taking a painting class for the first time in 15 years. Later in the evening after the class, I realized how much I had enjoyed it. My heart felt lighter, and my mind seemed less cluttered. It was a much needed distraction and one that I intend to continue by going to more classes and painting more at home. It's actually a distraction from the distraction of the TV. I was becoming a news junkie, but all the news is too negative, and I'd find myself arguing with the TV. Now, I turn on music and paint. Who knows, maybe I'll get good enough to illustrate the covers of my books :-)

Diana Flegal said...

Starting your day well makes a big difference in our output. Sounds like you have a great plan Terry to get the most out of your day. I agree with Susan, taking time off is also often a great way to increase our harvest.