It’s Gonna Be Tough

For a while now I’ve been letting my fear or lack of motivation get the best of me. My projects have suffered, my confidence has suffered, and I’ve been disappointed in myself. But now I’m determined. I’ve set deadlines for myself, and goals for myself, and I’m trying my darnedest to make it happen. And, slowly, I’m starting to feel like my old self again.

This coming week is going to be a bit of a test. And it will take a lot of willpower and determination to get me through. Why? Two reasons: deadlines and a new challenge.

The deadlines I’m referring to are the goals I set myself for May 1. I need to have my A Life You Want website up and running, and I need to have my kitchen and bathrooms cleaned. Since I’m not quite as far along as I would have liked, it will be a struggle to meet the deadline. But I’m still determined. I have made progress in all of the goals: I’ve worked on the kitchen, tackled one of the bathrooms (though not completely), and worked on the website. I was originally going to have all of today to myself (Kevin was supposed to have the kids), so I probably would have had a much easier time of things, but we switched days, and now I have plans with the kids (it was my idea — I kind of shot myself in the foot there). Now I have to scramble to get it all done in time. Can I still do it? We shall find out!

The new challenge I mentioned? Well, this week I have decided to participate in national Screen-Free Week. If you want to learn more, you can head to the website: The basic challenge is to refrain from screen-related entertainment for a week. You’re still “allowed” to use screens for work and school, but you challenge yourself to avoid screens any other time. No games, no Netflix, no turning to the screen for mindless entertainment and passing the time. The idea is to rediscover all of the great activities you can do without screens, and pull yourself away from a screen addiction.

I decided to take on the challenge because Avery (and myself, if I’m honest) has gotten a bit too attached to screens. I mentioned the challenge and he started crying. It’s the entertainment he turns to whenever he looks for something to do. And half the time I don’t even know if he’s enjoying it — it’s just his default. He needs screens in the morning, in the car, in the evening. And there are so many other things he enjoys that he misses out on because he always reaches for a tablet or phone or TV.

For me, I’ve turned to screens too often as a distraction, as a way to keep from getting bored. But what I’ve noticed? I waste a lot of time and miss out on things, too. I say I don’t have time to read, yet I have time to check Facebook a million times a day? And when I don’t have the option to have a screen, such as when I’m driving, I am able to think so much better. I come up with new ideas, or figure things out, or solve problems. I need to back away from the phone and computer to clear my head.

Now, of course, cutting out screens completely is not an option. My job relies on a computer, for one. I also need screens to work on my businesses and websites. So what I’ve decided is that I will “allow” myself screens at work (though only work-related screens — no watching Hulu while I’m working), and I will go online for a half hour in the morning, and a half hour in the evening. This will enable me to catch up on anything business-related I may have missed, plus work a bit on my websites. I am allowing myself access to e-mail and messaging, but no Facebook in between, no games, and no videos.

There are a few benefits of this. First, it will give me time to reconnect with my kids. I don’t spend enough time playing with them. I’m expecting to have fun, whether I’m excited about the prospect or not. I suspect I will also come up with a bunch of new ideas (not that I need more, but it keeps my mind sharp!). Also, it will encourage me to focus on my cleaning and non-screen tasks – and will show how much time I really am wasting with a screen. I’m calling this a detox and reset: a way to kill any addiction and reset our defaults to a time when we weren’t so dependent on screens.

The challenge starts tomorrow (April 30) and ends Sunday (May 6). My first deadline is Tuesday (May 1). It’s going to be a crazy week! But through it all I’m pushing myself, changing my ways of thinking, and building confidence — even if I’m not completely successful. Progress is a win! And I’ve already made more progress over the last couple of weeks than I had in a while.

It won’t be easy, but I’m determined. Wish me luck!


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