Are there any fellow writers reading these words?
I suspect that all of us wordsmiths know this feeling but it’s out there for all of us really.
The most annoyingly powerful thing that seems to trip us up when we’re trying to get something done is the seemingly innocuous ‘little thing’.
I’ve been trying to write today but Sausage the cat has had different ideas. He’s not been trying to get me to follow him into a different room to play. Oddly, no calls for food. Instead, it’s been the constant calls for fuss.
He’s been prowling around the computer, doing everything in his power to just get in the way.
I know he just wants fuss. He’s an affectionate little creature. But each little head scratch, each stroke, they all add up to me not being able to actually write anything. He wanders over the keyboard and won’t leave me alone. So far, the end result is I’ve achieved very little.
The same thing happened to me at work on Saturday.
No matter how hard I tried to get a load of work done, people kept coming to see me with ‘little things’ they needed sorting out. Now it’s part and parcel of my job but it’s the constant supply of little things that can utterly derail you far more powerfully than a single big thing.
You have a day where you’ve been running around doing all manner of things all of the time, always busy and doing everything you possibly can to get things finished and when you get to the end of the day and look at the ‘To-Do’ list you started out with, you’ve completed none of them. You look again, thinking about how busy you were. That can’t be right. You can’t have been that busy and achieved nothing?
But you can.
All those ‘little things’ that on their own take only a handful of minutes, add up to being a constant hurdle. The death of a thousand cuts. It’s why trains running between two locations are so much faster when there are fewer stops. It’s the slowing down and speeding up time that does the damage, as well as the time spent at each of the stations.
So we all know the struggle really.
It’s not just us writers who are plagued by the ‘little things’. The request of, ‘It’ll only take ten minutes, then you can get back to the writing’ or the ‘Can you just speak to this person for five minutes to explain the issue’ are universal and are just as deadly to our productivity as the mega task, though in a more subtle and insidious way.
In short, if you see me writing, leave me be, but occasionally bring tea.
Sausage is helping.
He brought no tea though.