Two Saturdays ago we were sitting on the beach, blissfully unaware that it had reached a scorching 107 degrees Fahrenheit. After toweling off from close to an hour spent jumping waves and watching pelicans dive for their dinners, someone in our party informed me of a shark attack two weeks ago that had occurred at a beach not far from ours. I did not know that I had been baking away in 107 degrees Fahrenheit weather that day, nor that a shark had attacked someone in waves near the ones I had jumped. This is because over the last several weeks I have purposefully put my head in the sand. Instead of listening to the news and fearing that the sky was falling, I kept trucking along towards my goals. And you know what? The sky did not fall. On top of that, my world moved forward.Instead of listening to the news and fearing that the sky was falling, I kept trucking along towards my goals. Click To Tweet
Getting Lost in a Sea of Details
Let me show you what a typical day of a full-time blogger/writer could look like (and oftentimes does): social media updates on Twitter and Facebook, thank-yous to people who have linked to articles on my blog, responding to commenters (thank you guys!), commenting on others’ blogs to increase exposure and to get to know people, tending to basic maintenance (updates to plugins, tweaking), monitoring blogging statistics to try to form patterns (where is traffic coming from, which articles garnered the most traffic, which social media site should I concentrate my efforts on, etc.), writing/editing/posting articles on the various sites I staff write for, checking stats on my new eBook, responding to the 50+ emails I receive daily, reading through and reviewing book review copies I’ve been sent, etc., etc., etc.
In other words, I could live the rest of my days getting bogged down with the details, my head just slightly above the waves so that I can maintain status quo and take a few weekends off. But then how would I grow? How would I reach any of the goals I have set for myself?
Rise Above the Day-to-Day to Move Forward
About a month ago I reflected on the last four and a half months of self-employment. I was shocked to realize that some days I did not write a single paragraph. Not one single word. Instead of working on pieces that moved me, I allowed myself to be inundated with details. Making this realization allowed me to fix the problem; by purposefully putting my head in the sand and focusing on the bigger picture, I’ve been able to move forward. Though the details I listed above still need to get done, I have found that if I want to stop treading water on my goals then I need to fit in the day-to-day blogging details around the meatier chunks of what really matters and not vice versa.
Distractions are everywhere, sometimes of our own making. It is so easy to get sucked into everything that is going on around you—sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing—that you miss out on opportunities to move forward with your goals. Specifically for financial goals, since we live in a culture of mass consumerism, it is particularly easy to become distracted from paying down your debts and saving money for both short-term and long-term use. Just turn on the television without a DVR to fast-forward through commercials and you will see what I mean—everywhere is the message to spend, spend, spend, despite adding onto or creating new debt for you. Even despite adding months onto achieving your goals.
So my advice to you is this: unplug. Slow down communication. Set aside a block of uninterrupted time each day, if possible. The distractions will always be there, right where you left them, in case you need them. What will not be there are the days, weeks, and months of time spent on all of the little details instead of focusing on a few big ones. The results from strategically placing your head in the sand every once in a while may truly inspire you, just as they are beginning to do for me.