Going Down the Rabbit Hole
When I think of going down the rabbit hole, I think of Alice in Wonderland. Alice disappears down the rabbit hole to a fantastic place holding bizarre adventures. The story was originally called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in an 1865 novel by English author Lewis Carroll.*
Through many locked doors of all sizes, Alice finds a little key to a door too small for her to fit through, but she sees an attractive garden on the other side. The story proceeds from there through multiple lands, creatures and even a mad tea party. If you have ever been to a Disney Park, you will be familiar with the Tea Cups. My stomach has turned more than once on that ride, twirling around and round inside a large fabricated teacup!
The Distraction of the Rabbit Hole
Whenever there is a promise of new adventure on the other side of a locked door, which could be a new tech tool, a new business idea or even a side project, there is the danger of getting distracted from your main goal or purpose. This is especially true for artists and creative types who have multiple ideas most every second and minute of the day! (FREE Goal Setting Worksheets)
Some estimate the mind thinks between 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2,500-3,300 thoughts per hour. That breaks down to 41-55 thoughts per minute! That gives most everyone reading this plenty of chances of going down the rabbit hole of distraction.Staying on task takes discipline and defined steps to move forward with consistency. Here are three main ways to help you stay on task, even as you give your creative mind permission now and then to going down the rabbit hole! After all, you don’t want to stifle creativity!
One: Set Realistic Goals
Realistic goals should be looked at as healthy, small stepping stones to move you forward. You can create your long-term goals, but also divide them up into small enough chunks to be measurable and obtainable.
When people think of goals or resolutions, they think of setting new goals every year. Statistics confirm that nearly 80 percent of resolutions fail by mid-February. (See Reflect then Regroup)I feel it is very important to look realistically at your goals every quarter, even as an entrepreneur.
Simplifying your life and focusing on one or two main objectives with very small baby steps will help you move forward. I’d also encourage you to get in a group that will help you move ahead. One of the biggest problems I see is the problem of inaction. People get overwhelmed and have a hard time even starting. And after starting, continuing! Similar to sports, it’s well-worth the investment to hire a trainer or coach. (See Self Care)
Two: Set a Timer
I am a huge fan of timers. I started speaking about the ten-minute timer in my first book, Stuck is Not a Four-Letter Word. It is a huge help, especially for creatives. But it will help anyone stay on task.
If you admit it, there are plenty of distractions where you will end up going down the rabbit hole. This is one of the aims of our news and social media. They draw you in and you have to read more to get all the scoop. Pretty soon, you’ve wasted thirty minutes…then an hour. They know that catchy headlines work!
Then it’s time to eat, you have a meeting and so on. With a timer, you can intentionally turn off all distractions and concentrate. You can set it for however long you wish. It really works and will work for most every type of personality. I actually furnish small timers for those who take my online courses. I want students to finish! (most only finish 30% of courses they’ve purchased)
Three: Plan Breaks
Breaks are important. They are important both mentally and physically. A break doesn’t need to be real long. Even five to ten minutes can do wonders for you both physically and emotionally. Download our FREE Christmas Devotional!
Create a system for yourself of setting your timer. You can set it for however long you wish, then reset it! After so many sessions, take a good break. I would bet your productivity will skyrocket. Success breeds success and it definitely creates momentum! It’s exciting! Try setting up a game move yourself forward. Get the free game board download in the article: Competing Against Yourself.
One of Your Biggest Hurdles
I would bet one of your biggest hurdles is not just starting, but continuing and finishing a project. This can include a book, an article, a work project or even a home project. Distractions are everywhere and this year with the COVID shutdown, it has been a breeding ground for distraction.
Work places have changed with many now at their home offices with kids and families to manage. For some, when a complete environment changes, it’s very difficult to focus and regain the concentration needed to complete a job completely. Systems and routines are thrown off. You have to create a new routine in order to adjust and thrive. (see article on Deep Work)
This is why focus groups, masterminds and coaches or trainers are so important. They can help you stay on task and finish what you started. Distractions COST, so get the help you need! As you approach a new year, new quarter or new season, don’t hesitate to get the help you need to keep you from going down the rabbit hole, not wasting time, energy and valuable resources. Remember, I’m rooting for you!
If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning