Put Blinders On – Shut Out Distractions

Aug 13

Put Blinders On – Shut Out Distractions

I have found art to be a jealous mistress. She wants your full attention or her jealousy will find a way to destroy your life. – Jack White, Official Artist of Texas, 1976

I found an article by Jack White linked on the Right Brain, Left Turn website. I guess I’m on a bit of a productivity kick right now, and productivity can be difficult for creatives, especially when life starts to turn upside down. You can read the article Keep Your Blinders On on the FASO website.

As I write this, we’re getting ready to move to Fredricksburg, Texas, two hours from our current location in San Antonio. For the past three weeks our days and nights have been focused on doing our job while we’re here as well as decluttering the house, packing, and saving money for the move. It’s hard to stay focused, though. There are so many little things to take care of and it all takes time. Sometimes I feel a bit helpless. But through it all work hard to stay focused and get things done when I really want to sleep late and binge watch Hell on Wheels.

To help during this transition time, we started the packing and decluttering process early. I’m proud of ourselves for doing that because life always tends to get in the way. I get I’ve Got All Day Syndrome and before you know it we have a week to move and nothing is boxed. But as soon as we gave our 30 day notice I started to pack. I put my blinders on and did what needed to be done. Now, as I write this, we’re a week and a half away from moving day and most everything is done.

If you want to do anything and do it well, you’ll need to focus like a racehorse. You’ll need to make the time to write your blog posts, work on your book, paint your pictures, design your jewelry, list on eBay or whatever you’re working on. Jack gives examples from himself and other artists and writers on how they stay focused. They write every day. They have a word count to meet and they do it daily. Just keep on going and don’t quit. There are people who write books during their lunch hours or paint in a studio early in the morning. There is always a way to find more time.

At our new place we’re going to have cable TV provided free. We haven’t had cable in at least five years, maybe ten. We’ve been watching TV shows on Netflix and Hulu, watching on our schedules, even binge watching. People complain about the ads during Walking Dead and I don’t have that problem because we’re not watching it on network TV. I’m wondering if we even need to have it at all or if we should just ignore it. I don’t want time to be spent just mindlessly in front of the TV. So I’m going to put blinders on. I’m going to protect my time and use it wisely.


Like Debra at Right Brain, Left Turn, my tendencies are to flitter from one thing to another. Creatives are like that. It’s taken me a long time to learn to control that even a little bit. That’s when I use the timer, the pomodoro technique, focus blocks and other tricks. Those things are my blinders. I also keep my goals where I can see them frequently. They remind me what is important to me right now. This keeps Shiny Object Syndrome at bay. After the move, I’ll need to set new schedules, new rules and new tricks, but I’ve had several years to practice. Part of it is self control and part of it is asking myself, what do you really want? Ultimately, I want success. Doing the work is the way to get there.

What tricks to do you use as your blinders? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.



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