Last month I took a few days to flesh out my next novel and promptly…
When You Can’t Focus
Two weeks ago I was pushing hard to meet my daily and weekly goals. I had a book due, and I needed every minute to finish it. I had a three-hour window on the weekend where I was in another town with nothing to do, so I decided to revise a hard copy of my manuscript. I found a corner table at a coffee shop, took out my printed book and red pen and…stared into space.
The coffee shop was crowded, conversations were loud and I struggled to concentrate. No problem, I’ll just work in my car for a while.
But the car, while quiet, brought no productivity either.
I simply couldn’t focus on the pages in front of me.
Come on, you’re on a tight schedule here. If you don’t get this done today, you’ll be behind. Do you want to meet your deadline or not?
Well, that little pep-talk didn’t help. I grew anxious. Called a friend. Tried to revise again. Failed again.
The little worries started zapping at me until I took a deep breath and told them to stop. Forcing myself to revise wasn’t working, so I read another chapter of a nonfiction book I’d been enjoying. I still had an hour before I needed to pick up my son. Rather than trying to free up brain cells that didn’t want to cooperate, I prayed. I prayed God would bless my upcoming writing week, that He would help me get my work done and guide me to make the book the best it could be.
The following Monday, my focus returned with a vengeance. I worked hard all week, and I was able to turn in my book a few days early. It felt really good!
Sometimes our plans don’t work out, and the situation is made worse when we can’t focus on what needs to be done. If you’re distracted, try the following:
- Take a break. Brew some coffee or tea, eat something yummy and just relax for a while.
- Go somewhere else to work. If you’re home, go to the library or a coffee shop. If you’re at a coffee shop, go home. If you’re home and can’t leave, go to a different room.
- Take an hour (or afternoon) off and don’t worry about what isn’t getting done.
- Pray for God’s favor. Pray for your work to be blessed.
- Rest, drink plenty of water, and take care of yourself physically. Sometimes we’re rundown and we don’t know it.
- Read for fun. All work and no play can sap the focus right out of you!
Do you ever get so distracted you can’t focus? How do you handle it?
Have a terrific day!
This Post Has 3 Comments
Jill, how did you know? This lack of focus is killing my copyediting schedule today! Thank you for the reminder to pray through it. All I could think about was my lack of focus (ironic how I can be focused on my lack of focus, right?!), and you reminded me to find that best perspective… by placing my struggle in God’s hands. Bless you!
Oh, I understand, Andrea! Pray and take a break! Give yourself a pass for a while. 🙂
Thanks, Jill! Your encouragement is well appreciated.