One of the best things about following a writing career is that I can start work when I like, I can pick my kids up from school, take them to their clubs and I can even pop out (for emergency chocolate) without having to get anyone’s permission. I can write in a cafe, late at night, in the park, in the garden and it really gives me the sense that I’m in control of my life and can dictate when and where I work. For me this is what keeps it enjoyable and my work life never feels like a chore. Oh this sounds so rosy, this working from home malarkey must be the best thing ever? Sure it’s the best thing ever until I realise I’ve become caught up in the battle of the continuous distractions. It’s not even because I’m surrounded by housework glaring at me with its smelly socks and grubby floor or that there’s food on tap to fill those peckish moments. Oh no. My phone is by far the most tempting distraction ever invented!

Feeling Distracted

My phone has my emails, texts, music, the internet, photos, apps for everything imaginable; my Facebook page, my Twitter account, in fact the thing I least use it for is to phone anyone! I even get my phone out when I go shopping as it’s got my shopping list on it.

I’m sure most of you will agree that writing involves some degree of contemplation and frequent pauses whilst it’s being committed to the page so inevitably I find moments when my hands aren’t typing, my mind is off sorting out its creative process and my phone is sitting there beckoning engagement, pulling me in by its digital promises. Well you never know, there might be an urgent email since checking two minutes ago, another page like or a text from a friend. Flitting through my phone has become an involuntary action, a robotic need. I’m finding it harder and harder to control. Worse still my phone is always there. It’s like a techy leach. Even when my kids are around its flashing its notifications and nagging me about the work I’ve still got to do. I think I’m in serious danger here of focusing on distractions instead of what I set out to do.

HELP... I want to let go of my phone!

Judging by the amount of heads I see glued to their phones every day I don’t think I’m alone with this conundrum. I’m torn. I want my phone... but I don’t want my phone. So I’ve decided to take action by setting myself a few ground rules.

  1. Turn off all notifications and sound (a slight downside when I forget where I put my phone and have to ring it to find it).
  2. Frequently remind myself what prompted me to start this writing adventure in the first place i.e. the desire to write some books for children (this might keep me on track).
  3. Leave my phone in another room to where I work.
  4. Dedicate limited times for phone flitting and stick to it (that includes all pointless checking of social media pages).
  5. Ask myself why I need to pick up my phone before I make a lunge for it.
  6. Recognise that I’m in charge of my life, not my phone.

At least this is my plan; I’m going to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes. I can already feel my hand twitching at the sight of my phone. In a life where appointments get changed, questions need answering, deadline dates are moved forward and new tasks materialise out of nowhere, keeping focused on what we set out to achieve can sometimes feel like an impossible challenge. What tactics do you use to avoid getting trapped by your phone?

Published by Amanda Lonergan