My lack of focus is only slightly alarming – Challenge Journal #2

As I wake up after another annual “spring forward” to some confusion to my phone saying one time and my stove saying another, I can’t help but notice a little blur in my vision. Now, this blur is partially due to the lack of tasks I have accomplished over the past nine days during break despite my ambitious list. But it is also due to that general lack of clarity accompanying long breaks from working on a particular project; i.e. my writing capstone project.

It would be easy to tell myself that it is okay, considering I still have 24 hours until I will be back in class to find my focus. It would be easy to say that this happens to everyone and I will get my focus back soon enough. Hey, it would even be easy to say that it’s fine if it takes me a couple of days because I have other class deadlines on my mind. And while the lazy person in me is telling me to take those thoughts and run with them, I also have a little voice telling me that that isn’t good enough. That I need to actually do something about my lack of focus rather than just let it envelope me.

Now, I wish I had a great solution to this. I really do. I wish I could tell you that I drank some questionable tea and sat in silence for a few hours and my head was suddenly void of the blur and full of clarity. I wish I could tell you that reading over my project so far and looking at all of my research made me excited to get back to school and start working again. But none of those worked. So I decided to sit here and write this very unorganized and rambling journal.

And so far, it really has helped. It has nudged me in the right direction of school and class and project and slightly numbed my thoughts to playing with my dog and watching Criminal Minds for the fourth time. As I am writing this journal, I have to keep stopping to right down little tasks for myself for afterward. Print out syllabus for new class. Find out class room. Fill out monthly planner.

So even though I do have a lack of focus, I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to get it back. And writing was just what I needed.

4 thoughts to “My lack of focus is only slightly alarming – Challenge Journal #2”

  1. Hey Alexis, I think you make a few excellent points about writing as a whole, and I can completely empathize with your lack of clarity as it relates to your capstone project. Like you, I often struggle with how to combat writer’s block or confusion about how to proceed with my writing. Weirdly enough, I’ve found that, as you described, writing can help with both of these issues, even if the writing feels like a somewhat jumbled collection of thoughts. I’m glad to hear that writing this challenge journal helped you in that sense.

    In terms of your capstone project, I feel similarly overall. After taking a break from my capstone project “The Narrows” these past several days, I had trouble with where, exactly, to pick-up in my project. I was unsure whether to continue the work I had done immediately prior to break or to simply start working on other areas that required more attention. If I can offer you a bit of unsolicited advice, I’d recommend just starting from the beginning of your project, or from its most basic, core concepts. While my project felt like a jumbled mess just yesterday morning, after spending time last night and earlier today writing as much as I could from the beginning of my short-story, I have a much better idea of how to proceed with my project. Either way, I hope my story can be a bit helpful, and good luck working on your project this week!

  2. Alexis, this is some relatable content that is for sure. After spring break I woke up on Sunday with a body full of anxiety about my project, how close graduation is, how much I have to accomplish before the end of the semester, and everything else in between all of those things. I felt a bit de-railed, I just wanted to crawl back into bed and hope that someone would finish my project for me. Sadly, however, that wouldn’t work.

    I agree with your statement about how simply writing, doing anything somewhat related to your project can help reduce the anxiety surrounding the project. I found it helpful to just record my first episode, to dive right in and get a big chunk of my project out of the way. I am not sure what your project structure is, but I would recommend trying to tackle something that is giving you some anxiety or frustration some time in the next week. It helps! I promise you!

    Thank you for sharing this, I agree with you that you will be able to get back into the swing of classes and working on the project just fine! Good luck 🙂

  3. Hey Alexis,

    I really relate to what you’re going through right now. The new time, the start of classes, AND the fact that we have less than two months to somehow string everything together is terrifying. It’s so frightening, in fact, that it is almost easier not to face the heaps of work we have to complete.

    I, too, did not do a single thing over break. I had the occasional reminder about assignments that are due or the spontaneous wave of guilt, but my desire to push all of that away and continue to relax was far too strong to take action.

    To help me get out of my rut, I always do a few things. Firstly, I reflect. It seems as though you have already done this via this blog post. However, I think it would help to write a few pages focused more on forward thinking. Instead of regretting what you did over break, embrace it! Take a few moments to acknowledge your actions and decisions, and then move forward. What do you envision yourself doing in two weeks? Three weeks? What will your project look like in a month?

    Not only will this help you to create a specific to-do list, but it forces you to imagine what it might feel like when the stress is all gone. Writing about your lack of stress at the project completion, or the small sense of joy you might feel when you create a storyboard, might make you all the more motivated to pick up right where you left off before the break.

    I hope you find this technique helpful! Best of luck.

  4. Alexis,

    I SO FEEL YOU! I think I too enjoyed Spring break a little too much, and it has been so hard getting back to the swing of things. Even though I am at the lowest number of credits that I have ever taken at Michigan, I still feel overwhelmed. I feel that a wave of no motivation, and an extreme desire for movies and TV shows has washed my mind off of all the school work that I should be doing. And, oh boy, I have no solution for this either. But I do agree with you that we will all be fine at the end. I too could drink all the teas and coffees and have all the comfort food that makes me feel so much better, but again that “lack of focus” still lingers. More so, as an overthinker, I have realized that the more I think about abstract projects or even tangible things like a math problem, it only complicates things. I think that not overthinking and letting go the project for a while shall help both of us to come back with more fresh minds! Good luck for the rest of the semester and can’t wait to see your project. 🙂

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