We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but we all choose to use those hours differently. Some of us stay home with our kids, some of us drive to an office every day. But one thing is the same for all mothers:
We get distracted.
And as a mother, you should expect to be distracted! My kids interrupt my thoughts constantly. Taking care of the house is distracting. I’ll walk to one side of the house to do something and will get distracted with something else, only to walk back to the other side of the house to discover that I was supposed to be putting laundry away.
Distraction is everywhere! And too much of it can be a bad thing.
Considering how often I’ve posted this month, January has clearly been full of distractions for me, specifically the cold weather begging me to draw back underneath the warm covers to take daily naps. I’ve had plenty of time to write blog posts, but I’ve kept myself distracted with tasks that require less brain power.
…it is possible to be thinking a problem, even when you are distracted.” (PsychologyToday.com)
Lately, for me, that means the wheels of problem solving have been churning and churning and …
…well, you get the idea.
Last week, I had several creativity breakthroughs, but only after raining in the level of distractions (probably an idea I came up with after taking a nap).
It’s possible for mothers to become so distracted that those creative ah-ha moments don’t break through. Instead, we hit brick walls. To prevent that from happening, here are a few tips for reducing some of your mommy career distractions.
- Get off social media (only temporarily) – Don’t freak out. Here’s what I do: When I notice that I’m having a hard time coming up with writing material, the first thing I do is eliminate newsfeed surfing from my daily routine. Sure, I won’t have any idea what’s going on, and will probably miss the chance to be reminded that my friend is having a birthday, but, in the grand scheme of things, I’ll survive (and, hopefully, my friends will understand). Eliminating your social media browsing frees up time and brain power to focus on other, more important things. I’m currently in the midst of a 30-day Facebook fast. So far, I haven’t died.
- Reduce the background noise – This could mean different things to different people, but, for me, it meant turning off the radio and t.v. during certain times of the day so that I can actually have moments where the only noise are my own thoughts. Maybe drive home from work with the radio off. Also, try to keep the t.v. off if no one is even paying attention (and since we have kids, we know this happens). Constantly drowning your thoughts with noise is extremely distracting. Reduce the noise and you’ll notice how much quicker you can focus on moving from one thing to another.
- Don’t take on new projects or commitments (or eliminate current ones) – If you’re schedule is so full you can’t breathe, then you’re never going to have any breakthrough ideas! Plus, how will you every complete that to-do list of creative tasks if every waking minute is scheduled with other things? You can forget scrapbooking, photobook designing, redecorating, painting, gardening, sewing, blogging etc. If you want to exercise your creative muscles, you have to make room for it in your schedule. I’m sure that you can delegate some of the tasks on your mommy plate to your husband and kids (think domestic chores), or a professional (think home maintenance), or just stop wasting time on things that you aren’t really benefiting from, such as clipping coupons that you forget to use anyway.
- Take time for yourself, away from the kids – This one is especially for stay at home moms because, let’s face it, being home with them 24/7 is very distracting. Getting away and changing the scenery will do wonders for your creativity. You’ll feel refreshed and recharged, too. Try and make it a habit to get some alone time weekly. And, might I suggest that alone time doesn’t have to require hiring a sitter or asking your husband to hold down the fort. You could wait until the kids are tucked into bed (perhaps establish an earlier bedtime) or wake up earlier, and use an hour to do whatever you want. Read a good book, soak in the tub, paint your nails, etc. Whatever you do, do not use this time to do chores! Getting that time for doing something you’d like to do is a great way of making you feel like you’re more than just a mother. It allows you to strip down and just be yourself. I don’t know how to get any less distracted than that!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like distraction should be listed in there among my mommy career duties and responsibilities! Just as you’d expect to feel tired as a new parent, you should expect distraction. But just because it’s there and unavoidable, doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and accept its tendency to wreak havoc on your life, like that raccoon from that Allstate commercial.
Practicing the above tips, even if it’s only every now and again, will help you become more grounded as you think clearer about your life. It can allow you to shift focus on what’s most important.
Speaking from experience, without breaks from distraction, you run the risk of just flying through your mommy days like a plane on autopilot. Don’t do that. The best ideas and solutions to problems don’t come to you amidst chaos. They can only come when you’re open enough to receive the message. Don’t keep the door shut. Open it every now and again. You never know what messages are waiting for you.
Give some of the above tips a try, share this with a mommy friend, and let me know how it goes by commenting below. I can’t wait to hear from you!