Wait Your Turn

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Does this ever happen to you? You have a thought, but before you can act on that thought another thought bumps the first thought and gets in front of it, and you start focusing on the second thought. Then as you’re attending to that new thought, you remember something related and start thinking about what to do with that. And you realize — wait a minute, wait a minute, what’s going on, and you pause to gather your thoughts. You notice the first thought wandering around and you start to bring it back to the front before another interruption can occur.
This happens to many of us from time to time. It happens to people who are not linear thinkers with frequency. People who are creative thinkers, divergent thinkers, those with ADHD often have so many thoughts vying for attention at the same time that it can be difficult to prioritize and focus on just one thing at a time.
Like right now, I’m writing this article, but ideas for another writing project keep intruding, as does an impulse to take my dog for a walk, and wondering if the mailman has delivered the mail yet.

One possible solution involves using a timer.

* Decide on something you want to/need to do.
* Determine how much time that task might require and how much time you’re willing to devote to it at a particular time. E.g. This afternoon at 3 p.m. for 30 minutes.
* Schedule that in your calendar (if it fits, of course).
* Gather everything you need plus a note pad, and clear things that might be distractions.
* Set the timer for 30 minutes and commit to it. Really.
* Write anything that pops into your head as a different “to do” on the pad so you’ll remember it later.
* At the end of the 30 minutes decide what’s next, continuing with what you were doing if you haven’t finished, or moving on to another task that now has a higher priority.

If you’re thinking, “Yeah, sure, that won’t work for me,” you may be right. It’s only a possible solution. Try it. Make adjustments. If it works make it a habit.

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