What Does It Cost You?

I don’t know that Aristotle actually said this but this is the energy I’m taking into the week.

I’ve been working on my self-discipline for a couple of years now. At one point, right around when I turned 30, I realized I never really got anything done because I wasn’t disciplined enough to stick with it.

It wasn’t anybody else’s fault, though I may have tried to blame them. It was mine.

It’s really easy to start something, look it over and go “this is crap”. It’s easy to walk away from things that are harder than you thought they would be.

Modern day humanity is all about the convenience and there’s nothing more convenient than quitting. ( Note: There are valid times to quit. That’s not what I’m talking about here.)

A question I learned to ask myself is simple. It’s “what does this cost you?” Or “what is this costing you?”

It’s a question that aims for the heart of the issue. If you’re tolerating and settling then what are you missing out on?

Maybe it also plays off our collective FOMO (fear of missing out).

Either way, when I began asking myself and really digging into the answers I found a lot of my failures had to do with my lack of self-discipline.

I never finished a story or a book. I never invested in myself through making sure I worked out. I never truly made creativity into my career.

There were reasons for all of these but they all boiled down my starting and stopping once something became difficult. As a result I didn’t trust myself to follow through on the things I wanted to do. In my mind it was better to just daydream about them instead.

So this week I want to ask you, what are you tolerating or settling for in your life? What is that costing you?

The Art of Distractions

If there’s one thing I excel at, it’s distracting myself.

Social media has compounded this down into a concentrated little problem that affects everything I do.

I sit down to write and find myself scrolling while the limited time just slips away.

I tell myself it’s ok, but is it?

No! Of course not. The more I scroll the less time I have for creativity, for really getting into the flow.

World events haven’t helped. If anything I might argue that we’re constantly in need of distraction right now.

I used to call these little distraction breaks “brain breaks”.

That was before I realized the true nature of how distractions disrupt our work patterns and flows and the nature of being trapped within a social media algorithm.

My “brain breaks” frequently knocked me off task and resulted in who knows how much time spent trying to get back on task.

It wasn’t always like this. At one point I left my phone laying face down on the other side of the room or in another room altogether while I dug into my creative practice. At that time I was also a pitiful social media user at best, posting to instagram once every few months and checking Facebook only when someone asked me to.

The trouble began when I actively sought out ways to promote my writing. That meant leaning into social media, at least that’s what I thought. Over time I found myself writing less and scrolling more. I was effectively trapped by the algorithm. It learned my moves, thoughts … I swear it eaves drops on my conversations.

To counter this I’ve come up with a couple of novel ideas.

One is, of course, using screen time which is built into apple devices. Another is reverting back to leaving my phone facedown somewhere else. I can access social media from my computer but I’m far more likely to do it from my phone.

I’ve also considered removing the apps from my phone however I worry that will drive me to check it more from my computer, thus continuing the disruption process. Another consideration has been downloading an app that would effectively lock my phone down during certain periods of time.

So far the combination of screen time and leaving my phone face down seems to be working.

What are some of the ways you keep yourselves free from distractions? Do you use any apps to keep yourself off your phone or social media?

Picture from the Pexel’s photo library – shows two people hugging while checking their phones over each others shoulders