We have learned through our journey through the pages of Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane that the brain is elastic and has the ability to learn and relearn. But that does not always serve us well. In todays age we are constantly bombarded with information. We carry it in our pockets and have it on our desktops and take it with us to the coffee shop. All this constant information and stimulation has also rewired our brain. It is difficult to remain focused for more than a few minutes because of it.
Wanna know what I HATE? I hate when I am at a dinner with people and they absentmindedly pick up their phones while we are in the midst of a conversation. Know what else I HATE? Looking around a restaurant seating area and seeing families tucked in at tables where they are all staring at their phones. We have lost the art of communication. We have stopped connecting on a face to face level. It is sad. That is why we (my friends and I) have “Breakfast Club” every Friday. All we do is visit, chat, yammer, talk, and laugh hysterically. Our favorite restaurant loves us and has coffee ready and others in the room recognize us and we share a smile with them. AND…NO PHONES. There. That is my rant for the day. Hi! You know the drill. Fill your favorite cuppa, sneak some nibbles from their hiding place at the back of your desk drawer, flip to page 114, and read along with me. Or not.
There is an article mentioned in here that I may go read after we are finished. It is The New York Times providing some disturbing statistics.
• In 2008, people processed three times more info each day than in 1960.
• Currently we spend twelve plus hours a day exposed to media of some kind. In 1960 it was five hours.
• People check their email or shift computer screens nearly 37 times per hour. Which makes the average attention span approximately 2 MINUTES.
• On average, computer users visit forty plus sites per day.
I don’t know about you, but that scares me.
So, here is a challenge.
MAY YOU HAVE YOUR OWN ATTENTION, PLEASE?
1. Identify the best time of day to focus on your needs. Use some of this time to focus on your Product Time.
2. Identify what distracts you and prevents you from fully focusing on you. What tempts you to multitask? Now, refuse to give attention to these people and things during the time you have set for yourself. This includes your computer. There are applications like DoNotDisturb and RescueTime you can use to block sites for the time you have set.
3. Once in a while…unplug. See how much you can get done without electronics. I mentioned taking a trip to the local library for research. Do so without your laptop. It is very hard to get that “lightning strike” idea when you are constantly being buzzed, dinged, and whistled away from your work. It is suggested that you can even schedule a “No email day” once a week.
4. List the top ten people and things that worry you on the daily. Now, schedule 10-15 minutes per day to solely worry, be frustrated by, and tremble over them/that. That is all. You are allowed one “worry session” per day. To clarify, that does not mean 10-15 minutes per worry. It is a total of one 10-15-minute worry session.
5. Okay, we know about budgeting money. We write or catalog our spending in ledgers. We also know about scheduling our day around meetings, doctor’s appointments, dance recitals and other events. It is now time to schedule ALL of our time. When tracking your budget, you pay attention to how you are spending money. Track how you are spending time. Where are you wasting it? What could you be doing instead? Track for a few days to a week and then sit down and figure out what you want and how to get there based on time.
There is a chart on page 118 breaking down each hour of the day from midnight to midnight. You can make your own or print off versions of it online. Once you have something to write with…start finding time for you.
Me: I get up around 5:30-6 and spend an hour with the Hubs before he goes to work.
I spend an hour thinking, planning, jotting down notes about everything tucked in my head.
I then move on to morning chores to allow my lists to percolate- bed, dogs, dressed
Now I am sitting here with you.
That is just a few hours in my day. I have stories to write, edit, and plan to publish. I have things and goals I want, and my time is precious to complete them. Is your time important to you? Are you sure?