Are you a Star or a Leaf?

I sat at the kitchen table, writing away. The words were flowing out of me. I was “in the zone.” “Mommy, I am hungry, will you play with me?” I finished writing my thought, got up from the table and went to make food. Later that night, the kids finally settled into their beds. I sat down to read a book, just as I was getting into the third chapter, Jim comes in the room and says, “We need to go over our schedule for the week, I’m going to need a ride to the airport.” I put the book down. I was drifting from one moment to the next fitting in what I could, when I could. I think that’s the role many parents take on because everything else is more important, right? Or is it? I didn’t seem to be getting very far. I was making progress, but the distractions were getting worse.

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much that you closed the back cover and immediately wanted to read it again? I feel accomplished sometimes just being able to finish it. I find I don’t always have time to go back and re-read it. It feels so good to finish a book, because you’ve become someone new. Whether you have a new story to refer to or new knowledge to apply to your life, you’ve changed some how. You grow.

Recently, I have started reading a lot of books. Maybe 3 or 4 at a time because there are so many different things I want to learn all at once. I am great at starting books, not always so great at finishing them. Not because I don’t want to, but life sort of gets in the way sometimes. I usually start a book, put it down, forget about it and then find a new one that looks so interesting to read. It’s definitely an overlying theme in my life, I need to have the discipline to finish what I start.

Hopefully, I’m not the only one. It could be anything, like starting a workout program and not finishing it. Pursuing a dream and getting close, but deciding its just too hard, or trying to eat healthier and deciding the chocolate cake looks too good to pass up, anything, etc.

Once I start writing, I find “the zone” easily. I’m completely focused. Imagine puzzle pieces coming together to make a whole, but the puzzle pieces are words and the whole picture is my piece of writing. My challenges were finding ways to stay in the zone and finish what I had started. I could write my posts ten times faster and I could actually finish the books that I start, which a lot of the time inspire my writings.

I believe there are no coincidences and when things come into your life we need to pay attention and attempt to interpret the meanings behind them. That’s how we get better and closer to becoming the best versions of ourselves.

My sister-in-law, Kat, sent me this article soon after I released my blog to wish me well and give me encouraging words which I needed more than ever. Thank you Kat, nice timing! The article was called, “A psychologist explains how successful people do more in a day than others do in a week.” It was such a great article that I forwarded it to a few of my friends that I thought would benefit from it. In the article it states,

“The human mind is not designed for multitasking. In fact, research has proven that we’re pretty terrible at it. When you multitask, you lose focus, you’re more likely to make errors and projects tend to take longer.”

At least now I knew why I was facing such challenges. I used to pride myself on being a good multi-tasker, but in reality it was me losing focus on the important things that really needed finished. Multitasking may be becoming the norm these days, but it was not helping me get any closer to hitting my goals. In the next few paragraphs of the article I learned why distractions and interruptions make my writing or tasks take so much longer.

“Minor interruptions majorly derail your focus. It will take an average of 23 minutes to get back in the zone of whatever you were doing.”

This explained why a simple book was taking me three months, when I normally could have had it read in a week, if I focused. They recommended in the article, as a solution, finding a room with closed doors or a quiet space to work to limit interruptions. My kitchen table basically sits in the center of all activity in my house. That wasn’t going to work anymore , at least not if I wanted to be productive with my time.

The article made note of what the psychologist noticed about people who consistently succeeded. To “Fully Commit,” was the first one. I thought about this for a while. I released a blog last week,but how was I ever going to fully commit to writing blog posts weekly with all the distractions that come with working at my kitchen table? As I am reading the article, I started imagining the desk in my basement that was fully covered with clutter. Papers, DVD’s, Nintendo games, etc. “I could make that my space!” There would be little distractions. As a bonus there is a fireplace right next to it and a place for my kids to play at the other end of the room.

A lot of times I have thoughts to do something, but too many times I’d brush off the impulse to act until a more convenient time. Which never seems to come around, and the thoughts would remain just thoughts without action. With that in mind, I jumped up from the chair and went downstairs with every intention to clean that desk off. I got downstairs, took one look at the desk and the task overwhelmed me. What a mess! I had a momentary thought of, “Never mind, I’m going back upstairs.” Every excuse not to do it crossed my mind. “Soooooooo muuuuuuuuch stuff, ugggghhhhhhhh! This will take forever!” Looking down at my watch I thought, “I have to pick Jimmers up from school in an hour and I’ll never finish before I have to leave. I’ll be fine at the kitchen table, I’ll make it work.” A mini war was going on inside my head in a matter of moments. How many times does this happen to you in a day? What came next was noteworthy.

I remembered something I once read which said, “ One thing you can do to increase the ability to discipline yourself in all things is when you have a thought immediately act on it, don’t hesitate.” I know the value of discipline and the amazing results you can get through my experience of getting to a healthy, strong weight and size. It took me a year, but it worked. Discipline works. This is what I needed to do to fully commit to becoming a writer. I need a space to write, with limited distractions and a place to focus.

The hesitations disappeared. I turned myself back around and immediately started cleaning the desk off. I had it done in 45 minutes. I even had time to write a little before I went to pick up Jimmy from school.

Our inner dialogue we have in our heads can make us or break us. As Todd Valentine once said, “Win against yourself daily and you’ll win against the world eventually.” I won today. I honestly think those thoughts and images that flash in our minds throughout our day is our intuition helping us get a step closer to our purpose. If we’d only LISTEN or at least focus on finding a daily WIN WITHIN OURSELVES we’d find progress and peace . Cleaning a desk and making a space to limit interruptions may seem insignificant to some. As I sit at that very desk writing this, I can’t help but feel I’m right where I need to be, as focused as ever. I even wrote and finished this post faster than any previous one. Maybe I’m onto something.

“Most people are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel on one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path.” ~Herman Hesse (1877-1962), Siddhartha

I’m no longer drifting, now I’m aiming for the stars.

Let’s go together, will you come with me?

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