Didn’t Get It Done? That’s Your Own Damn Fault

Things that distract me:

– my cats
– an opened bag of Candy Cane Kisses
– music that is particularly peppy
– the knowledge that there is an unwatched episode of The Sing-Off on my DVR
– the dust I just noticed on the far edge of my desk
– a sink full of dishes
– Etsy
– my sudden obsession with yoga bolsters, brightly colored jeans, or illusion necklaces
– Twitter
– etc.

This past weekend — at a time when I was supposed to be working on the first chapter of my book so that I could get it to my writing partner by Monday — we lost power (along with hundreds of thousands of others on the east coast, thanks to a freak October blizzard). Okay, fine, I thought to myself. I’ll give myself a pass. My laptop will die in under two hours anyway.

Then, on Sunday night, the power came back on.

By Monday morning, however, Internet had still not been restored. “Ooh!” I said to my husband. “I’ll take this opportunity to write that chapter without any distractions!”

I then proceeded to spend the next few hours watching Project Runway, playing Spider Solitaire, and checking email on my phone.

Here’s the thing: Even without the typical distractions, we will create them. Because sitting down and starting something is hard.

So don’t complain about all the distractions at home. Don’t say you couldn’t get your book done or your business started up because of this or that or oh my god my cat needs snuggles!

Sit your ass down and let it flow.

It won’t flow all at once. It won’t come easy. But if you work hard at clearing out the cobwebs and pushing past the crap, it will come eventually.

Need help? Here are some tips and resources I’ve blogged about in the past:

Also, here are some fantastic apps for eliminating the number one distraction in your life: the Internet.

What’s worked for you when it comes to sitting your butt in the chair and forging on, despite distractions?


  1. Ah, this post speaks to me. I am forever distracted by tumbleweeds of dog fur that need to be vacuumed, piles of towels that need to be washed, library books that have to go back soon and can’t be renewed again. Lately I’ve actually been feeling like I’m holding myself back from bigger, better work because self-motivating can be so hard sometimes. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, which was horrible last year and is already rearing its head this year, even though this is early for me. My productivity plummets when that depression sets in, and it’s about 300000 times easier for be to get distracted by every shiny object, television show, and blog that crosses my path.

    What really works for me when it comes to forging on? Making a list on the board above my desk. Checking items off the list keeps my motivated to tackle the next task. Although yoga breaks and walks with the dog always manage to pull me away at one point or another!

    • Checking items off a list is so, SO satisfying. Maybe that’s why I have so many lists. I love that you have a list board above your desk. I daydream of one day having my own office with a bulletin board, and maybe a wall covered in chalkboard paint (and, um, built-in bookshelves and a reading nook and… )

      • Oh. The wall covered in chalkboard paint? I WOULD DIE. I keep trying to convince my husband, but he’s not a fan. I may just do it one day while he’s at work because, you know what? THAT WOULD BE GREAT FOR LISTS! 🙂

  2. You introduced me to The Sing-Off, so I could totally blame you for that distraction. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll pass along this tip … Since The Sing-Off isn’t an intense drama with a complex storyline (like say, Mad Men), I can watch it while I sort paperwork, search for stock images, or complete other mindless administrative tasks. Just sayin’.

  3. Don’t mention Etsy. I’ve all but shed that obsession! Then there’s Polyvore, grown-up Barbies, as I call it.

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