focusToo many distractions can make you forget what’s important.  At least, they can make you forget what’s really important to you, to the reality of your situation and your life in all its many aspects.

Life goes on despite massive change and uncertainty.  We work and play and love and laugh and pay bills and try to make our way.  We love our families (most of the time), have friends and coworkers, meet strangers.  We survive.

But if we want to do more than survive, if we want to be the best people we can possibly be, then we have to focus.

In today’s modern world, we are constantly called to distraction.  Between family, friends, work obligations, advertising, social media, emails, the Internet, politics, finances, sports, television, and a million other things, it’s easy to be to have your attention stretched in so many different directions that you lose sight of yourself and what you need to do here and now, to be successful with your own precious life.

At least it is for me.

I get stretched and pulled, and I lose focus.  I lose track of my time.  I sit down to check my email, or look at Facebook or YouTube, and suddenly hours have passed.  Even if I’m disciplined enough to limit the actual time in front of the computer, sometimes I find what I see or read to be disturbing to my equilibrium.  Then my thoughts are hijacked for another couple of hours, and I’m using all my creative energy to deal with those feelings instead of moving ahead in other, more productive directions.

I need to focus on my financial health, on my healthy body/mind/family health, and on my creative health first.  Then the rest can filter around it.

So, here’s the plan.  Call it the Betsy State of the Union, if you will.

I’m turning off the Internet as much as possible.  If it’s not possible to turn it off completely, I’ll get an app allowing me to limit access to the more distracting sites (like email and social media).   But ideally, it will be completely off most of the time.

I’ve gotten away from my Tiny Tasks.  I haven’t been working every day on fiction writing, other writing, business/fiction planning and de-stressing.  I’m going to re-institute them so I touch each of these areas every day (or mostly every day).  That should ensure that fiction writing, blogs, and newsletters get moving again on a more regular basis.

I have developed an in-depth financial budget to start getting a handle on my own personal debt crisis.  I’ve already screwed it up over the past month or so, but it’s in place again now.

I’ve developed a health initiative, which faltered during the stress of the last couple of months.  That is being re-implemented as well.

I’ve started a writing log to show me how much I’m writing every day, and in which areas I’m spending my time.

Perhaps most importantly, I’m starting a time budget.  I know how much free time I have every day, and I want to account for it, the same way I account for my money.  I want to spend it intentionally, not have it drip away without my consent.  It’s fine to build in time to check email, look at Facebook, or watch television, but those activities must be scheduled, and they must happen outside of prime creative writing time.  The mindless, blank-eyed scrolling, watching, and reading has to stop.

On top of that, everything’s going to be written down so I can see exactly where the time is going. That’s the first step to regaining control and focus.  If you don’t know what’s going on or when it’s happening, you can’t change it.

We are constantly being asked to lose focus.  But our lives are infinitely precious.  We can’t just throw them away because we didn’t notice where they went.

I’ve fought way too hard to have my life.  I will be damned if I’m going to lose it now just because I didn’t see it walking away.

After all, today might very well be the last we’re given.  None of us know the length of time we’ll be here.  Let’s make it the best possible.

We’re the only ones who can.



  1. <3

  2. So very true about distractions! It is way too easy to spend ‘just a little more time’ doing something that isn’t what you should have at the top of your priority list. This is good advice for all of us!

  3. Betsy Horvath says

    Now all I have to do is actually, you know, do it. 😀

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