• One Minnesota Writer

52 Ways to Shift Your Focus

Shift #25: Take Stock

Somewhere around the middle of any lengthy project I do, I get distracted. I dream about other projects or vacations or the next book I’m going to read. I go for hikes, meet with friends, do all kinds of things that I’ve written about here as ways to shift focus.

And those distractions are useful. They do the trick of giving my brain a break. Hopefully, you’ve found the same.

There’s another thing that I do in the middle of lengthy projects and that is to take stock. Take this series, for example. I’m nearly to the middle of my 52 ways to shift focus goal with today’s post and, as I juggle writing with helping care for our smallest family member (Camille, who is 17 months old), I find myself thinking about where this series is going and what has changed in my daily routine since the first post about ways to shift focus.

That first shift in focus was about baking bread and, through that simple act, taking care of the body. I planned to zero in on ways for writers to take their eyes off the computer screen for a little while, move around, get the blood flowing. And, for the most part, I’ve stuck with that premise. Some weeks, it wasn’t immediately clear what I was going to have to offer, but something always showed up. That is the fun part. I have learned that I can always find something to use as a way to shift my focus. I have learned that having a goal does not mean every detail is planned ahead. Allowance for surprise is essential.

Taking stock of a project is a slightly different way to shake up how you see your work, and it’s necessary. Go back to the beginning. Identify your original intent. Have you kept to that or have you veered from it? If you’ve veered from it, was it an enhancement or a sign that the project needed redefinition? What has surprised you? What has gone as you expected? What more do you need?

As always, step away from your computer for this. Go find somewhere outside of your work space to do this kind of assessment. This is just the thing the local coffeehouse is really good for.

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