Do you know the #1 reason why personal distractions interfere with work? Because we allow them to.
When you’re self-employed it’s easy to let personal matters get in the way because health, children, spouses, and so on are things that we all agree are important. And when you compare those important things to writing, designing, or whatever type of work you do, of course, the personal elements of your life seem more worthy of time and attention.
But it’s not really a matter of who or what is more worthy, and you shouldn’t think about it that way.
Comparisons between things in our personal and professional lives usually aren’t objective. We taint the scale with emotion creating a situation that’s unfair and unrealistic from the start.
A freelancer will ask, Is this job more important than my family? instead of the real question, which is, Should I prioritize this job over my son’s soccer game?
Or if the flu takes over the household, we’ll slap on that badge of honor and affirm, “My family’s health comes first and that’s more important than writing.
Comparison tends to make people over-sensational. They start acting as if the questions involved are bigger than they are, and as if the implications of working are far deeper than they really are.
In the examples above, the issue is not weighing devotion to your family versus against the mere act of writing. The issue is your commitment to your work.
As a creative entrepreneur, you have two types of responsibilities, personal and professional. The question is whether you’re going to allow one to distract you from the other.
If you’re operating with keen business sense, you won’t.
A lot of people choose freelance and creative careers because they want control over their schedules. But if you aren’t careful, you’ll find that flexibility becomes a key to procrastination.
When personal issues arise, you’ll give yourself the leeway to create a black-and-white, either/or situation and you’ll address the one that you deem to be most important.
You’ll start to deem excuses for not working as valid when they wouldn’t be valid if you were we working for someone else.
That’s why people who struggle with personal distractions, should use an employee standard.
If you’ve ever had a job, you know the list of valid reasons to miss work isn’t very long. And even if you have one of the valid reasons, you’re probably still only going to take advantage of it to a limited degree.
So, before you push aside your creative work to address personal issues, ask yourself, if I had a job, would I call out of work for this?
If the answer is no, meaning you wouldn’t put that personal matter before someone else’s business, then why would you put it before you own?
When you work for someone, you learn to work around personal issues so that they don’t become major distractions. When you work for yourself, you need to do the same.