What ever happened to being able to chew on a problem, anyway? You know, concentrate, think, wonder, and sketch a bit...
I find myself unsubscribing from more and more mailing lists and RSS feeds. I'm being more and more brutal in how I deal with email (just moved everything older than 2 weeks into my "archive" folder--sorry if you expected a response). I'm avoiding instant messenger as much as possible. I'm wearing headphones at work more, mainly to make up for the lack of any quiet space. My voicemail message simply spells out my email address, hoping that I'll have one less inbox to check for new stuff demanding my attention (not that it seems to deter people from talking at it).
Our high tech world kind of sucks from a productivity standpoint. Instead of creating an office space or environment in which it's easy to focus, we've been dropped into an obstacle course that throws lots of little tantalizing distractions at us along the way, each one is quite small. Combined they're formidable.
Like me, you've probably sensed the same thing, in yourself and in others - the way the constant collection of information becomes an easy substitute for trying to achieve any kind of true understanding. It seems a form of laziness as much as anything else, a laziness that the internet both encourages and justifies.
That only makes it worse. There's so much to choose from that deciding what to focus on can be a full-time job in and of itself!
As much as I complained about having to sit so long in a small airplane, I'm realizing how distraction free last weekend was. All I had to do was look at a map now and then, keep the plane flying, and enjoy the scenery. There was very little task switching taking place. The only thing demanding my attention in an interrupt-driven sort of way was my instructor. But that's what I was paying him to do. :-)
What's your secret? Or are you so distracted that you didn't make it this far?
[In related news, Popular Science tells us that Too Many Meetings Make You Grumpy. Shocker!]
Posted by jzawodn at April 24, 2006 03:12 PM