On Focusing. Or What’s That Shiny Thing?

This week’s Deb posts are all about our worst time-sucks and temptations as well as our tips on staying focused.

Focused? Staying focused? In the time that I started this post, and by the time I wrote this sentence, I have multitasked on a several dozen other things, whittling away whatever precious time I had to potentially accomplish the writing of this post. I have:

  • Tweeted out how depressed I was that Fascism is gearing up to be Merriam-Webster’s word of the year.
  • Spent time on Slack messaging the other Debs about how completely hilarious Amy Poeppel‘s post for tomorrow is going to be (because we took a sneak peek).
  • Spent time on Slack messaging my writing group, The Salt + Radish Writers, arranging when we are going to the Harvard Bookstore Winter Warehouse Sale (which by the time you read this you will have sadly missed).
  • Planned with my husband when we’re going to go to the new Boston Eataly and when could we go with the least amount of horrid crowds. I’m super hopeful we can manage to get a spot at Barbara Lynch’s Il Pesce.
  • Mused that I haven’t written to my best friend out in the wilds of Idaho in a few days and that I should remedy that.

Oh wait, five hours have gone by and this is still not done. Since then:

  • Added two more people to my list of holiday presents that need to be purchased.
  • Sent a text to my father telling him that I hope the knee replacement surgery goes ok today.
  • Tweeted out about various friends with book giveaways going on. Including Deb Amy Poeppel’s Small Admissions, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You, and For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser.

And then, nearly an entire day went by since I wrote that last sentence. In that time I’ve:

  • Braved the 4th day of Eataly Boston being open. Learned that I AM Books is handling books for them. Fantastico!
  • Played a really strange and unusual video game.myhaul
  • Went to the Harvard Bookstore Winter Warehouse Sale with my writing partner, Anjali Mitter Duva. And apparently missed seeing former Debutante Jennifer S. Brown there. And bought 14 books to enlighten me and to help me procrastinate further. Although you will notice two books about the Renaissance in that mix, which I hope will be helpful for Book Two. So, #research.
  • Talked to my father. Knee surgery went just fine.
  • Bought a Christmas tree. Put said Christmas tree up (decorating it tomorrow).

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Astute readers will have noticed that I didn’t write.a.goddamn.thing.[/tweet_box] And that it took me two days to write this single post. That’s how a lot of my writing gets done, in fits and starts, with a ton of distractions. I’m awesome in my day job at managing distraction, but when it comes to my own writing, so many shiny things get in the way. But sometimes I’m ok at locking out the distractions, I mean, I did manage to write a 418 page book. I do really well when I use the Pomodoro Technique, for example. I like the Marinara Timer to keep me on track. I’ll work for 20 minutes, then stretch for 5, then web surf, check mail, etc. for 20 then 5 more minutes of stretching, then back to work. I do find that when I start on the 20 minutes, however, that I often get into a groove and I just keep going–the need to goof off is not as present. I’m also much better when I have deadlines and people who have expectations of me. I’m more likely to procrastinate if I’m the only one expecting that the work gets done.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I have to go figure out what shoes I’m wearing to a party tonight!



Author: Crystal King

Crystal King is a writer, culinary enthusiast and social media expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and an obsession with the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught writing, creativity and social media at Grub Street and several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University. Crystal received her masters in critical and creative thinking from University of Massachusetts Boston. She lives with her husband and their two cats in the Boston area.

3 Replies to “On Focusing. Or What’s That Shiny Thing?”

  1. My crew of three made off with twenty-two books. Built some serious bicep muscles carrying those things! But it was worth it–haven’t seen my son since we got home, as he’s been holed up in his room reading. That sale is deadly–I now have to find room on our shelves for all the new finds. Which is the perfect distraction from writing!

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