Like I said in a previous article, I was fortunate enough to attend the GTD | Roadmap seminar last week, and I have to say that I had a bit of an epiphany. There were a ton of “ah ha” moments, but one of the things that stood out is that focus is important. Granted you have to be able to shift focus quickly in today’s fast-paced-information flood that we’re all living in, but regardless of how fast we have to shift our focus, we still have to focus nonetheless.
As I’m beginning to implement the various aspects of GTD, I’m noticing that since my brain has been set free of having to remember everything, I’m able to focus better. For example, when I’m working on a project, I’m able to stay on task… or when Holly comes home, I can really listen to what she has to say. In the past, my mind was running on all the other things I needed to be doing. So while Holly’s talking, I’m thinking about 100 other things left on my mental to-do list.
Of course now that I’ve emerged from this “fog”, I am more aware of how other people are distracted when I talk to them. Last night we had dinner with a friend and I couldn’t help but notice that she wasn’t really there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pointing fingers, I’ve not been there for a LOT of conversations in the past and I’m sure it’ll happen again. It was just a shame that my friend wasn’t really there, because Holly and I were. We were both living in the moment, but our friend was just somewhere else. I now see what that’s like being on the receiving end and it’s a shame that it happens, because when we are somewhere else, we miss out on what’s happening right now
This morning I read Mike Rohde’s article “Thoughts on Continuous Partial Attention” and I have to agree with his conclusion. I don’t see much value in the “always-on” lifestyle. If you’re always always on, but no one is home, what’s the point? Sure, I’m pretty well connected, but I still use tools that help me to pull my attention to the one thing that I need to be thinking/working on at that moment. At least I try to. 🙂
Speaking of tools that help you find focus, 43Folders had an article today on “WriteRoom: Free full-screen writing app for OS X” which is exactly the type of tool I’m talking about. For me it’s Edit+ or the AlphaSmart Dana Wireless for my writing, but it’s the same basic idea.
It’s been 7 days since the seminar and I’m still on track and seeing benefits to the small changes that I’ve made thus far. I just hope that I can keep this focus and not slide back into the fuzzy logic of past bad habits.