I want calm and focus.
I sense an increasing frazzle factor wherever I go, and I find it creeping in on me.
So I have a new goal: to do as close to one thing at a time as possible. Not zero, not five, but one. I have fallen into the habit of multitasking. As these words come from my fingers I have Star Wars playing in the background.
Background noise from TV, movies, or music, has always been a helpful distraction to me, but as my access to portable devices has increased, so has my level of distraction. I will have Netflix on the TV, business on my iPad, and cat pictures on my phone. If any one of those items has a lag, I not only start looking for something to do, but i get testy along the way.
Even further, I will want to do these things while in the company of another person, even when in the middle of a conversation. When my brain timer hits about 3 seconds, I get an itch to check my phone. I’m sure that nothing catastrophic has happened on instagram or in my email, but my hand wants to get that little glass rectangle into my frame of vision. I often catch myself, feeling shame at such an obnoxious habit.
Perhaps the worst of all of this is that I don’t enjoy the information all that much. At best, I get a glimpse into the lives of distant friends or a good joke to tell. Usually it’s simply killing time.
And fragile time dies so readily.
So in my spare moments I mull the problem over to find a solution. I find these moments while driving. I can enter into that waking zen state where my senses are intact while my mind runs in the background. And there inlies the beginning solution: mulling.
This has always been a favorite habit of mine, staring into the abyss and spacing out.
So step 1 to me getting some better focus: Mull.
Step 2: Use tools less often and with more care.
With this, I mostly mean the phone. Emails, texts, and media are never that urgent. If somebody needs me quickly then they will call. I’m not a first responder or medical professional, so there is rarely an issue that demands my immediate concern.
If there is something that requires my response, the line at the grocery store is probably not the best place for me to compose a thoughtful response.
Plus I miss all the good stuff.
My phone tempts me when I’m out taking a walk, and I end up missing the wildlife, the plants, the sights and smells that remind me of my nature as nature.
Step 3: Find some things that cannot be completed in one sitting. Novels, hobbies, the works.
That way I have to practice thinking about and remembering things for more than 10 seconds.
Personal bonus: Do some things with visible results.
I work with people, and I love to write. Those are two activities that are hard to measure. People are people…and only a certain type of writing produces tangible results. (On that note, I’d like to write some more books. I want to say ‘but that takes time.’ But perhaps that is a conversation for another day.)
So I’m posting this blog. Because I feel like it’s something. And hey look! It is.