I’m joining the Slow Down Challenge initiated by one of my favourite writers Jeff Goins. If you want to jump in, here’s how.
I ended my Slow Down Challenge #2 with an admission: I’m a huge multi-tasker. As if on cue, the third challenge is the one that deals with multi-tasking. Here’s the challenge:
1. Pick one task you need to accomplish; write it down.
2. List all distractions that stand in your way.
3. Share the list with one person who can hold you accountable.
4. As you work, glance at your list and remind yourself what really matters.
5. Turn off your phone and/or silence other pieces of technology, while you do this task. See how much better your can concentrate when you focus.
And here’s my response to the challenge:
The Task: Finish the blog post about my first backpacking trip.
1. Myself and my nagging perfectionism
3. Nephews & niece
My accountability partners: Maan and AC
It’s been four months since my first backpacking trip and I haven’t written a single word about it. So I decided to make it my major task, only to realize later how much work and how much time it took. I went backpacking for 13 days and it’s impossible to squeeze everything in one very long post. Well, yes, if I do it sloppily – which I will not, cannot, and should not. (Refer to # 1 distraction.) I had to write more than 10 blog posts to cover the entire trip. The next two weeks were heaven and hell.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of multitasking. I was doing quite well for my first two posts – minimal checking of email, kept my phone away, being in relative seclusion to the rest of the world, and putting my entire focus on the articles. After the success of my first two posts however, I relapsed and went back to my usual routine. I struggled. The distractions loomed larger and became more persistent. My nagging perfectionism tormented me for hours. (said the voice in my head: “Nope, can’t write that.” “Boring!” “Seriously?”) There was so much going on I couldn’t resist googling the latest news about the pork barrel scam and the senators involved. My nephews and nieces kept barging into my room with all the fanfare that accompanies kids their age.
If there was anything that kept me sane for the last two weeks, it’s the thought that if you don’t know what to write, write anyway. Write anything. Just write and don’t ever give up. The hardest part of writing is when inspiration seems to have abandoned the writer. After that, everything the writer does is hard, hard work wrangling with the nouns, verbs, and adjectives and stringing phrases and thoughts together. But I showed up every day on my laptop and wrote whether I was feeling the inspiration or not. How’s that, perfectionist you. And two weeks later, I finished my major task. Hallelujah!
I still am a huge multi-tasker. It’s kind of hard to rub down years of embracing the corporate mentality that lauds multi-taskers. But with practice, more focus, less distractions, and strong will, it is possible.