Work based Play: 5 Helpful Ways to Get Back on Track

Whether you’re a writer, painter, fashion designer, or mechanic, or whatever your thing is, we all get distracted from our hobbies. Family, friends, and our careers; these are important to everyday life, and I highly suggest you keep them around.

Friends and family help you create even when you don’t think it’s a helpful opinion. They tend to push you to be your best…when they’re not getting in the way of course. Family and friends are the procrastination brain BFFs. They know you want to have fun. This causes you to pull away from doing that other thing that you love. That thing where you play your music at your volume, where you’re alone tweaking your craft. This seems to be the time that they find you. Elbows deep in your work, “Hey want to hang out? Go for coffee?” Or, “I have something that I have to tell you!” Friends and family are notorious for that type of behaviour.

That brings me to your career. Unless you can make income from your work by doing what you love, your once hobby, don’t give up your day job. This is important. The bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how many times you wish for it. Materials for your craft can get expensive. Food that gets cooked and placed on your table will not come free. A day job is one of those things that you will need.

Other distractions come from the everyday living as a human. Just like how money doesn’t come for free, your house won’t clean itself, your body doesn’t magically stay clean, and the little things, well, they don’t do their thing on their own. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Weasleys house from Harry Potter. Even if we all wish that it was.

5 Ways to Get Back on Track

1. Make a time for your work. If you need an hour a day, give yourself an hour.
This is why scheduled programs work so well. Everyone knows not to contact you between 7 and 8 because you’re at yoga. Do the same thing for yourself. Let people know, “I’m painting between 7 and 8. Could we go for coffee at 8:30?” This way they know when you’re busy.

When you have children, this is the most difficult. You’re too tired to get up an hour before you need to get the kids up for school. At bed time you’re still cleaning up from the day. When is it possible to sit down and get an hour? Only you will know that. If waking up an hour early works for you, then all be, do it.

For those of you that don’t have children, you’ll have to look at what you do on a day to day basis. Find yourself some time to do what you love.

2. Put away your phone.
Here’s one of the hardest to do. We’re all attached to our phones. Mine is in my pocket right now. I’m sure if I forgot to turn it off, the second that it rings I will answer it. Not only that. If I don’t turn it right off my computer and Fitbit tell me that someone is trying to get ahold of me. This is more difficult if you have family that need to reach you during the day. That’s why I added number one first. Making time for your craft during an hour of the day where you will not be needed, or an hour where people are less likely to contact you. Combine these two ways to get back on track.

3. Get started.
With your time picked out and your cell no longer being a distraction, get started. When I try to get started I notice the little things…like my coffee is almost half full, I should fill it up before I get started. Oh, look over there my husband left his plate out…I need to put that in the sink before I get started. These things don’t need to be done right away like my brain tells me, I’m procrastinating. A half hour goes by, and nothing is done but the dishes, new pot of coffee made, and the cats are fed. Have your time picked out, and be where you need to be as if your career was starting. Would your boss be happy if you missed half the day because you needed to clean your house? I didn’t think so.

4. Find a buddy.
Find a craft buddy to come over, or you go to their house, about once a week or every two weeks meet up. Switch it up or stay the same. These buddies are like your procrastination fillers. If you’ve been good all week your most likely going to slip near the end of it. Have your procrastination buddy to feed that part of your brain while doing your craft and getting new ideas. I have a friend that I go out for coffee with. We bring our notebooks, write, laugh, drink our hot overly expensive espresso, and socialise. I’m locked up in my office for quite a while, I always go over my hour a day. It’s nice to have someone to get out of the house with, while I work. You should find a buddy that lightens your week and helps your craft.

5. Set yourself a deadline.
This one always makes me laugh. Deadlines. Who even likes those? Not this girl. I scramble the day before deadlines. If you give yourself a deadline you’ll finish your projects faster. It took me three years to write my first book because I didn’t have a deadline. Now, I am aiming for a year to finish all the drafts of the second. Be sure that your deadlines are reasonable; how fast you work, and the project that you’re working on. If you give yourself too little or to much time you might become discouraged or distracted.

Giving all these points a try will help your work. Think of it the same way you do when you’re at your day job. If you start late all the time or on your cell, you might get fired. Working alone you can get lots of things done, but it can get lonely, making you not want to do it. If you don’t meet your deadlines things become complicated. Think of your hobby as work based play. Have fun to get it done.

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