A few days ago Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) tweeted the following video of Joe Kraus talking about creating a “culture of distraction“. Joe talks about how we are constantly distracted, what we’re losing, and what we can do about it. Something really important happened to me while I was watching the talk…I was captivated by what he was saying, but I really had to fight the urge to not open another browser tab to do something else, I don’t even know what, just something else while I was listening. He had me convinced. I love being in “the zone”, but I hate to admit that it just doesn’t happen that often. I find it incredibly hard to sit and focus.
I’ve searched for “how to be productive” on more than one occasion, and I’ve downloaded programs, tried different products, etc, but they usually don’t make a difference. My problem isn’t not having the tools, it’s not being able to focus. Even just writing this for the past few minutes I’ve received/sent text messages and emails, I’ve had to fight the urge to get up and grab another cup of tea, and I feel like I’m bouncing around.
So here I am, publicly admitting that I have a problem. In an attempt to get to the root of the problem, I’m going to try to have less distractions and live more mindfully for the next 30 days.
- Less browser tabs (I currently have 30 open and that’s a lot less than normal). Maybe no more than 5 (?) at a time.
- 30 minute walks three times a week WITH my phone, but without using it.
- NO using the phone while interacting with people. I try not to do this anyway because I HATE when I’m talking to someone and they start playing with their phone, but this goes for if I’m out somewhere with someone, or at family’s house, even if we aren’t talking at the moment.
- Make a good effort to do one thing at a time. Pretend like I can only do one task at a time. Drink a cup of tea. Eat a sandwich. Watch a movie. Just one thing at a time.
- Meditate, even if only a few minutes every day.
- Write every day. Even if it’s writing about how much I don’t want to be writing.
- Embrace “gap time”. I will not email/check twitter/whatever while standing in line at the grocery store.