Last night I met with part of my local homeschool moms group and we listened to the audio of a session from the Great Homeschool Convention. Heidi St. John was the speaker and the topic was “The Distracted Mom.”
The whole talk was about how each person has “roosters” in their life. Activities that we chase throughout our day that we will never fully catch nor master. These silly distractions leave us exhausted, spent emotionally, discouraged, discontent, and cranky. The Creator of our soul has called us to a unique purpose, yet the creator of deception fights against us fulfilling this purpose by releasing roosters into our days, weeks, months. If we aren’t careful, these distractions can rob us of years of peace and productivity.
Two of the 5 points she made on “Rooster Free Living” really stood out to me:
- Share your struggles – find accountability
- Write it down – use lists and schedules
These perked my attention because I’ve been steeping myself in understanding these two actions for the past year. I have felt called to master these things in my life and in the process, I have discovered a passion to share the process with you.
And one thing I realized in listening to this session: mastering distractions isn’t a once and done thing. Life stages do change (even though sometimes I feel stuck) and with the change comes new distractions that take me by surprise.
The best things I can do to help myself avoid getting discouraged by distractions are:
#1 Be honest with myself. I need to know what I’m prone to doing. In the session, Heidi lists several hobbies that are all good, but not best done at the same time the kids are relying on my attention. Some things like checking email are necessary, but these things are best done on a schedule (preferably when my kids are not dependent on me).
#2 Expect distractions to change. For different seasons there are different roosters. Spring usually means loads of extra sports and practices, summer can be a smorgasbord of wonderful extra activities, fall brings lots of extra routines from outside and inside the home, and winter brings us back to home but not without lots of added family gatherings. Just looking at one year alone, there are many possible good distractions that could entertain my attention and keep me from getting to my top priorities. And I’ve found that usually when I feel like I’ve just gotten myself in order that’s when things change.
#3 Own the rooster and move on. One thing I really don’t like is excuses. Or worse justifying something that I really shouldn’t be doing. All it takes is for my husband or a friend to ask me about how I spent my day or what I’ve been up to lately for me to know if I’ve been caught red handed wasting my time chasing a rooster. The best thing I can do is name the distraction as such and either plan a time in my schedule when the distraction can be appropriate (like checking email) or fast from the rooster for a season. And sometimes it’s necessary to eliminate the distraction all together.
#4 Use a block schedule. I write up a schedule on my chalkboard every-single-day (you can see it here), and I limit what I put in an hour to only 2 things. When I write that we are going to start our lessons at a certain time then that is not the time when I try to wipe down the bathroom sink or start a load of laundry. I also try to leave my phone in another room so that the quick email check isn’t even an option. It’s best to fully engage in the moment, and I’ve found that to my delight and surprise – we get more done, I feel more accomplished, and I’m much more satisfied with how I’ve spent my time.
Beware: Roosters are everywhere.
Heidi St. John is a wonderful speaker, writer, and encourager. She’s down to earth and she shares real life experience that’s relatable. If you’re going to the Great Homeschool Convention, please check out her sessions. You’ll be glad you did. If you aren’t headed to the convention, then check out her blog.
And as always, let me know if there is any way I can encourage you personally. The Accountability Program has started and I’ve been writing the group with practical, bite-sized encouragements for making better use of time and defining what one goal is the next best thing. If you haven’t signed up for that – you should do it now: Click here.
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