Coping with Distractions

I’ll be honest. As I’m writing this, I’m completely distracted as my youngest daughter keeps coming in to tell me she has a stomach ache. This post itself is a distraction from the prep work I should be doing for the Google Learning Institute tomorrow at the Center at Rutgers. The GLI is a distraction from all the other PD I need to prep for and follow-up on.


I’ve been asking myself lately what distracts me from work. I’ve also been working at prioritizing my workload. My family and I just moved to a new house. (Packing up the house we had been in for eleven years was more of a project than I had anticipated.) I wanted to make sure that during the move, I would not misplace any of the materials I would need for the professional development I would be teaching before the end of the school year. I was kind of successful. I’ve only misplaced the AC adapter for my Blackberry and my patience.

Another distraction. My eldest daughter feels it’s necessary to remind me a dozen or so times that she MIGHT be going somewhere this weekend IF a friend’s mother says it’s okay.

First priority – my family
Second priority – Well…this is were it gets fuzzy. I’d like to say it’s my job. But at this point, my job is so connected to so many things.

Another distraction. The eldest daughter is back again. More information about the possibility of plans. Perhaps a phone call tomorrow will help. (There is always time in the day for my girls.)

So, how do you prioritize what you need to do for work when everything you do is connected and you are connected through your personal learning network? Here are some of my priorities for work:

  • Prep work for PD
  • Twitter
  • Google Reader
  • Diigo/Delicious
  • E-mail – Phone calls
  • Maintaining blogs/wikis/other resources

Which should be at the top of the list? Which should be considered a distraction? A priority?

How do YOU manage all of this? Does anyone have the magic answer? I know I don’t. I’ve been asked many times before how I manage to keep up with it all. I usually respond that I rely on my PLN for support. You get what you give and I try to give what I can. Help me out here.

7 thoughts on “Coping with Distractions

  1. I read Getting Things Done once a year. Been doing it for about 5 years now. Each time I learn something different. It’s great for unleashing some of that creative edge.

  2. Be gentle with yourself. It is a very difficult time of year. I know exactly how you feel. I haven’t been on Twitter or Blogging and my Reader is about to burst. Our school just switched to Gmail and things are crazy here. I can’t imagine adding moving to the pile. That is a lot!

    Just remember, you can’t do everything. You can only take it one thing at a time. Take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. You will get there, eventually.

  3. Lisa,
    I can’t even remember how many times I have asked you; how you do all that you do and do them well. You may think that you need to evaluate your priorities, but looking from the outside in you seems to be doing fine. I think our priorities change based on what is going on in our life. You have the most important priority at the top of the list, family. I believe everything else falls into place. Your list reflects your priorities at this time in your life and that works. I must agree with Liz that you can’t do everything, so select those things that you have a passion for and enjoy. Take all the other things and put them a bubble and blow them away. As I read your quote, my priorities are my distractions, I thought, Lisa has hit the nail on the head. You don’t need any help you are right on track….I believe the interruptions in life (distractions) are means by which we are given reality checks. Enjoy the journey.

  4. @John – I will add “Getting Things Done” to my summer reading list. Thanks for the suggestion. I also see that David Allen has a podcast. I think I’ll check it out too.

    @Erwin – it looks as if Mark Forster offers similar materials as well. Thanks for the info.

    @Liz – Always providing supportive words. I’d like to put our younger daughters in a room together and see who drove which one crazy first πŸ™‚

    @Linda – The journey is only worth it because of dedicated, supportive educators like you.

  5. How do I handle it?

    I just stop doing stuff.

    I know you read my blog. My goal is to post every day. It really is a labor of love. But guess what? I haven’t posted since the 11th. Too busy.

    So, just stop doing stuff. The world will continue rotating on its axis. Trust me. πŸ™‚


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