Sometimes I write these dots one at a time, and other times, when the planets align, I write them a week at a time. Almost all of my favorites have been done during the extended sessions, as I seem to become a better writer when I am “in the zone” and not rushing to finish.

Television writer/producer Shonda Rhimes experiences a similar phenomenon. In her book Year of Yes, Shonda writes about writing and the high she gets from doing it, and what keeps her from that.

Writing is the hum. Writing is laying track. Writing is the high. Now imagine that hum, that high, that track to be laid is behind a door. And that door is five miles away. Those five miles are just…writing crap and doodling and trying to have an idea and surfing the internet and hoping like hell not to get so distracted that you give up…Every time I sit down to write, I have to mentally run those five miles past all of that to get to that door. It’s a long, hard five-mile run…

So when I reach for the door and open it — that’s when my creativity clicks in and that special spot in my brain starts working and I go from exertion to exultation and suddenly I can write forever and ever and ever and eve—

And then someone opens the door and asks me if I want coffee or water and I AM FIVE MILES AWAY all over again.

I think that we all experience our own version of being five miles away. Behind your door may not be writing, but everyone has some activity that would benefit from uninterrupted attention and dedication.

Yet we all leave ourselves open to distractions — pings on the incoming email, social media alerts, open doors when we need to be truly concentrating, cubicles with no protection from drop-in visitors, phone calls, cute dogs at our feet and a host of other attention-diverting activities.

Think about what you allow in your environment that requires you to make that five mile run over and over again. Maybe you are tired from just getting to the door, rather than from the work you’re doing behind it.

beth triplett
@leadershipdots
beth@leadershipdots.com

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes, 2015

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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