Remember when you were a kid, trying to trick your parents into letting you stay up late? “Jag ska bara …”, I would say, meaning “I’m just gonna …”, followed by some poorly constructed excuse of how I needed to pee again, or I was thirsty, or I forgot something downstairs. Anything to avoid the inevitable, no matter how tired I was.
The habit of this phrase still runs deep. I have noticed that as soon as I utter those words to myself, I’m doomed to waste hours on nonsense. If I go to a cafe to write, thinking “I’m just gonna check my email first”, checking my email turns into checking the news, has something happened on Twitter, what about Instagram, or that article I started reading three days ago, and the list really goes on for-fucking-ever. Getting out of that rabbit hole is too difficult, my only reliable solution is to catch myself standing on the edge.
Since habits often connect to physical places, I like moving to another location when I’m shifting focus. But again, when I do, I have to pay attention to my priorities right away. If I let my guard down, allowing myself to think “I’m just gonna …” then I’m done. On the other hand, if I can counteract that initial itch for distraction and get straight into what my intention was, then I might just have a few productive hours ahead of me.
Today I had one of my better writing days. I went to my favorite cafe by the canal, ordered a cup of coffee and a piece of lemon cake, opened my computer, and got to work on my project, without letting myself think about anything else, even for a second.*
*Except for the lemon cake, of course. Which was delicious, in case you were wondering.