Doing what you are doing…

If you would really like to achieve your dreams sooner, be a little bit happier, and feel better about yourself, I’d like you to consider something quite counter-intuitive. Try doing what you are doing, without doing anything else.

If you are writing, write. If you are carrying on a conversation, talk and listen. Turn off the TV, the radio, the CD player, etc. Put down the book, newspaper, whatever. Put all of your attention on what you are doing.

If you do what you are doing without being distracted or letting your mind wander, you will discover something interesting. You will be more productive and your morale will improve, no matter what task you are doing. It sounds simple, but some people cannot do this at all.

You bring all of your abilities to bear on a problem when you stay focused. If you have the TV on, or the radio on while you are working, your attention is constantly being pulled away from what you are doing. Even instrumental music will tug at your attention from time to time.

There are those who will say, “but I am just multitasking!” I am sure they are and like any computer that is multitasking, their attention is scattered over a number of areas. As a result, everything slows down.

Have you ever noticed how long it takes to make a point with someone who is reading a paper while you are talking to them? They may say, “I’m listening to you!” but you can easily see the effort involved to collect their thoughts and respond to you, if they do at all. They are multitasking, but they do not have enough horsepower to do an adequate job of carrying on a conversation.

Whenever you would like to give yourself a fresh start, try this. Take a walk around your house or around your block and notice things for a while. Really see what you are looking at. Resist the temptation to let your mind wander. Look at things nearby and far away. You can touch things or pick things up if you wish. Just keep your attention on what you are doing. For optimum results, I suggest that you might continue until you have some realization about yourself or possibly life in general.

You may discover some things about yourself you hadn’t realized and feel refreshed. On the other hand, you may discover that you cannot keep your mind from wandering. Either way, you will know more about yourself than when you started.

Try staying focused when you work or when you talk with somone else in person or on the phone. See if it makes a positive difference in your attitude. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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0 Responses to Doing what you are doing…

  1. Clarence says:

    I am convinced you are correct about this. I can’t write a word when the wife is in the room with the TV on behind me. That’s why I am a creature of the night, especially the wee hours of the morning.

    The expression “scatter brain” had to come from some place.

  2. Beth says:

    You got me, David.This morning, I was trying to write a web log post, watch a tv program on the stock market, make waffles, do laundry, fix Buck’s laptop network connections, and listen to his (fabulous) ideas on expanding our house — didn’t do a good job of any of it! Great thoughts. Good reminder.

  3. David says:

    By the way, I’m not trying to make a general case against multitasking – only if you are trying to do something important, like producing a product, or balancing a checkbook, or writing a web post. 🙂

  4. fredf says:

    I am a little more mono-scattered at present. All my focus is on writing this morning, after a series of days shattered by other matters. But one topic leads to another that reminds me of an earlier thought and an unfinished email. I am wondering about an egg time to help me stick to a task before launching a subtask. After time, maybe the clock could go. Something needs to change. I’d like to finish something. Anything!

  5. David says:

    Fred, you have brought up one of the most challenging activities possible, creative writing in search of a topic. That opens the floodgates to ideas of all kinds, including unfinished tasks and the fact that Tsuga hasn’t had a good romp this morning.

    Can you redefine what you are doing so that the task becomes two tasks: gathering ideas and inspiration, then grabbing what can be done now and writing.

    The first task can be done anywhere, at the computer or better yet outside. Try listing the subtasks that pop up during this phase. Then, when you have your topic of the moment firmly in hand, let nothing disturb you until you are pounding out prose with gusto.

    I think you will find that there is good reason you are being distracted…there is some backlog of unfinished tasks that needs to be dealt with. Usually jotting them down lets you keep them at bay until you complete the important stuff, like your daily writing activity.

  6. Zoë C says:

    I think this is more than an opinion, i think you have set infront of us a modern day trait (which i consider to be a problem).

    A trait that i used to think was not me, it was everything else in life wanting me to do it lol! I could not split my tasks up, i could not live without multi-tasking, -no time.

    But i began to ask myself the question, how can we ever have time for anything, if we do not make time?

    Since ive had these ‘realisations’ if you like, ive become much more attentive to whatever im doing at the time and more and more recently im splitting up my subjects alot more.

    But as always im still not getting enough sleep lol. Back to the life i must live rather than the life i want to live. Thank you for the eye opener:) Very easy to understand and very (in my opinion) true.

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