Focus – Removing Distractions

Categories Doing, Growing, Thinking

I have been thinking so much about my One Word for 2014 – Focus.

My main task right now is to figure out how to take that word and turn it into an umbrella underneath which I have smaller sections, if you will, to work on. This is way harder than I thought it would be. Which things should be the main objects of my Focus project? Which of the many areas where I need more focus should I be thinking about first? Aaaaaaand….I’m stuck again.

But a few days ago, reader Steve* left a comment that kind of jumped out and gave me the light bulb moment that I needed. Steve’s suggestion was that rather than think of what to focus on, think about how to remove distractions. Bingo! Thanks, Steve!

And with that comment and few more hours of mulling it over, I decided that for the month of January, I will do just that – first work on removing distractions. Actually, I was pretty happy to realize that I’ve already been doing that! This fits perfectly with what I’m already doing with my fifteen minutes per day of de-cluttering and organizing our house and, with a little luck, ultimately our lives in general. So, I figure it must be just the right thing to start the year off.

It really  just makes sense, doesn’t it? How can you think about what you need to focus on if there are too many distractions swirling around? I can’t remember to take care of the sewing pile because it’s sitting behind a huge pile of books. I can’t exactly find a space for Kidzilla’s lunchbox supplies in the pantry when the pantry shelves are filled with things that need to be put downstairs for the garage sale in the spring. And I can’t have a garage sale in the spring if I can’t find the floor of the garage. So the most positive flip is to start removing those distractions so that I can focus on the more important things. And the first thing around here that has to go is the piles of clutter that are so typical of a place where someone with ADD/ADHD lives and works. And in this house, there are three of us and at least one cat with it so the piles are amazing.

So there it is…one simple thing. For the month of January, I am continuing to work on removing the distraction of clutter from our house, one pile and fifteen minutes at a time.

How are your One Word goals coming along?

* Steve, by the way, has a great blog called Do Something Cool where he writes about living life adventurously, positively, and purposefully. The blog title is no accident. So skip over there and give him a look.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ow_125x125_custom_125x125 customized nicer

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

24 thoughts on “Focus – Removing Distractions

  1. Ok I swear that I commented before but now I’m second guessing myself because a lot of the time, I read from my phone and it’s a jerk about commenting so rather than leaving the above all alone, I’ll attempt to either recreate my original comment, or to just give the words I thought about commenting in the first place. I think removing distractions is a perfect goal and I’ve made that one as well – take 30 minutes each week to get rid of clutter. We’ve done okay so far but obviously have a long way to go. the piles here are just embarrassing.

    1. Ah…my phone is totally stupid for commenting, too. I love having the Bloglovin’ app on it, but I’ve stopped trying to comment that way. I mostly use it to skim and then comment from the laptop.

      I absolutely understand the embarrassing piles thing. I will put my piles up against your piles any day. Maybe we should have a duel and post some pics!

  2. What a smart guy Steve is! And it does fit so well with your decluttering. I’m glad you were able to figure it out.
    And an update, posting about your 15 minutes per day decluttering goal has given me new life in my own decluttering. Each day I’ve tackled one new spot, and I’m loving it. Thank you!

    1. Steve is totally smart – definitely check out his blog. But that comment he made about shifting the focus has prompted me into a whole new train of thought on my de-cluttering and focus gorals.

      I am so excited that you’re using the fifteen minutes! It is really working so well for us – glad it is for you, too!

  3. 15 minutes a day? I’m sure that would drive me crazy! I hate unfinished projects (which is why I rarely even START them!! lol) but, I may have to try it anyway. Sometimes I look at the whole project and it is too overwhelming so I don’t even start on it…maybe little by little is the key. …I have a really hard time focusing (case in point, I stopped in the middle of that sentence to do something else…I’m back now!) Anyway, your post has given me some ideas to tackle some projects…by removing some distractions & focusing–

    1. Well, there is a part of it that drives me crazy. I have this thing in my head that tells me that I have to finish a job completely once I start it. But I often realize that it simply isn’t possible and so…I just don’t start it. Textbook ADHD thinking. But that is getting me nowhere but buried in piles of stuff that’s not dealt with and it just takes over. I have read so many books on ADHD strategies and tricks and this one comes up over and over again – just require fifteen minutes of yourself on a task and that’s it. It is really working for me. I find that most days I do go past the fifteen minutes and I often “finish” a job. But on the other days, if I just get my fifteen minutes in, I feel OK. And it continues to amaze me just how much can be accomplished in that little time. My Mother will say she’s been telling me that for my whole life – and she has – but ADHD isn’t that simple and these things don’t always get through. 😉

      I absolutely hooted out loud when I read Steve’s comment on the other post because his tip to think more about removing distractions and less about what to focus on really triggered a lot of ideas for me. I’m just looking at the de-clutter initiative as the first layer of removing distraction.

      Now, if I could just get that Christmas tree out of my living room…

  4. Your decluttering plan sounds great. I may need to adapt it into my day. As for my “word” (phrase), ‘put yourself out there’, some of my friends have adopted a walking routine in the morning after we drop our kids off at school and they asked me to join them. Now I’m pretty much speed walking up hilly streets 3-4 mornings every week for at least 30 minutes. My legs hurt and I keep threatening that they are going to have to carry me halfway through, but I’m glad I am making the commitment. It would be easier to stay at home, but I am literally ‘getting myself out there’ and I’m glad.

    1. That really is putting yourself out there! That’s great, Heather! Good for you. 🙂 I have to say the de-cluttering is working. This is a huge thing for us because all three of us are clutter-creators. We are really working to first eliminate what’s here and then keep it from accumulating again.

  5. Steve is a smart man! You are right – your de-cluttering is definitely a way of removing distractions. It is really hard for me to focus on anything when I am in a messy environment. I love the 15 minutes a day plan. That is something even I could keep up with! It’s amazing how much you can get done in that short period of time.

    1. Well the credit goes to Steve for making that connection. It’s been a great way to look at it for sure. The fifteen minutes a day feels very non-threatening. I don’t think that’s the word I’m looking for, but it’s the one I can come up with at the moment. It’s easy.

  6. I stopped by to thank you for stopping by my site and to thank you for your kind comments. I now have the bonus of reading your great post! It couldn’t have come at a better time! I think I can handle 15 minutes at a time, anymore than that I find I get exhausted with my illnesses at the moment, I also can’t stand clutter! Thank you again, I will be back often to read your page and look forward to getting to know you!

    1. Hi, Lorna and welcome! I am so glad you came by – hope you’ll come back for more. 🙂 The fifteen minutes has been great for me. Mostly, I started doing it from the perspective of helping my ADHD habits – if a job seems too daunting, I will procrastinate and not even begin. But by allowing myself that short time frame, I’m finding it much easier. But you make a great point about using it relative to illness and pain. There are days that my RA pain makes cleaning a room seem too overwhelming and on days where my hands hurt, especially, I find I get very little accomplished or I get frustrated because I don’t “finish.” The fifteen minutes is a great way to think about the cleaning and chores.

      Thanks again for visiting – hope you’ll come back again! 🙂

    1. You name it! Know how Pig Pen has a cloud of dirt and dust around him in the Peanuts cartoons? Well, I have a cloud of clutter and distraction that surrounds me. Heck, I’m a distraction to myself! So anything I can remove to streamline things is a good thing.

  7. This is such a great idea. I definitely need to get our house more organized but it’s so hard to get going because it’s so overwhelming. 15 minutes a day should be pretty easy to handle.

    1. Elizabeth, that is precisely why I started the 15 minutes project. I have so much clutter in our house because I have myself convinced that I can’t get it corrected. And one of my big ADHD traits is not starting overwhelming tasks because I feel like I can’t finish. So by promising only fifteen minutes, I’m doing remarkably well. We’re not totally done yet – my goal is the top layer of clutter by the end of the month.

  8. That makes me so happy that my words resonated with you. I just thought that a different perspective may help and it seems like it has. Yay for my comments 🙂

    Anyway, I like the idea of getting rid of clutter as a way to get rid of distractions. I can’t remember where I read it, but I read somewhere that people who have clutter find it harder to concentrate and focus. I should probably look into that since I tend to let clutter accumulate around my house. Although I’ve been on a cleaning spree lately so that should make things a little better. I’ve been trying to do it a little each day, but it never seems to go down. Part of that is my cat drags litter all over the house so I have to keep on top of that. Oh well, that’s the joy of being a cat owner.

    1. I can’t tell you, Steve, how that different perspective helped things fall into place.

      As one who owns a whole lot of clutter, yes, it is hard to concentrate and focus. Then I also have read about how a messy desk is actually better for focus and productivity – I have to find that one. It actually made sense. But I think the kind of clutter you’re talking about definitely refers to general clutter, like all around.

      And cat litter all over the house…ugh. Ours do it and it makes me crazy. Litter times three!

  9. My word is Reach. I’ve done some reaching, but I always need a reminder. How’s it going for you so far? (I’m catching up on blogs, three weeks later).

    1. So far, so good. I guess I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked by this point, but I’m OK with where I’m at. I’m working on an update post to wrap up my January Focus goals and start the February. A little late, but hey, that’s how I roll here.

Conversation is the best part of blogging. I'd love to hear your thoughts...