Category Archives: Productivity

Living a Distraction Free Month (Part 2)

Well, I’m 2 weeks into trying to be more mindful and I’d say I’ve been failing hardcore. As I write this, the TV is on, I’m drinking a cup of tea, and I just finished a snack. Instead of concentrating, I’m thinking about making a list of movies I’d like to see, cleaning off my desk, remembering the cat needs combed, and singing a Talking Heads song in my head. ::Sigh::

 

The bad:

It’s been really difficult to not eat and do something else at the same time. The first few days I forced myself, but I noticed how uncomfortable it was.

I haven’t been writing every day…even though I keep telling myself that I need to.

This is the second time I’ve been watching the Dallas pilot, and I still don’t know what’s going on. I can’t even get through a TV show without being distracted.

 

The good:

I’ve been consistent with only keeping <5 browser tabs open. That alone feels pretty good.

I have been meditating for a few minutes each day.

Today I painted, and yesterday I put together picture frames. These activities required full creative attention, and that felt good.

 

From here:

Should I do an electronics free day once a week? If I do, there’s only two weeks left in the month. What else can I do to force myself to slow down?

To be continued…

Living A Distraction Free Month

A few days ago Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) tweeted the following video of Joe Kraus talking about creating a “culture of distraction“. Joe talks about how we are constantly distracted, what we’re losing, and what we can do about it. Something really important happened to me while I was watching the talk…I was captivated by what he was saying, but I really had to fight the urge to not open another browser tab to do something else, I don’t even know what, just something else while I was listening. He had me convinced. I love being in “the zone”, but I hate to admit that it just doesn’t happen that often. I find it incredibly hard to sit and focus.

I’ve searched for “how to be productive” on more than one occasion, and I’ve downloaded programs, tried different products, etc, but they usually don’t make a difference. My problem isn’t not having the tools, it’s not being able to focus. Even just writing this for the past few minutes I’ve received/sent text messages and emails, I’ve had to fight the urge to get up and grab another cup of tea, and I feel like I’m bouncing around.

So here I am, publicly admitting that I have a problem. In an attempt to get to the root of the problem, I’m going to try to have less distractions and live more mindfully for the next 30 days.

My rules:

  • Less browser tabs (I currently have 30 open and that’s a lot less than normal). Maybe no more than 5 (?) at a time.
  • 30 minute walks three times a week  WITH my phone, but without using it.
  • NO using the phone while interacting with people. I try not to do this anyway because I HATE when I’m talking to someone and they start playing with their phone, but this goes for if I’m out somewhere with someone, or at family’s house, even if we aren’t talking at the moment.
  • Make a good effort to do one thing at a time. Pretend like I can only do one task at a time. Drink a cup of tea. Eat a sandwich. Watch a movie. Just one thing at a time.
  • Meditate, even if only a few minutes every day.
  • Write every day. Even if it’s writing about how much I don’t want to be writing.
  • Embrace “gap time”. I will not email/check twitter/whatever while standing in line at the grocery store.
I think this is a slightly harder 30 day trial because the steps aren’t as tangible as “don’t eat meat” or “exercise everyday”, but I will keep brainstorming and working towards it. In the meantime, take 15 minutes out of your day to watch the video below. Do nothing else. It’s interesting, I promise.

 

Giving Up TV-30 Day Trial

The Challenge: No television for 30 days.

Background

The other night I was laying in bed going through old episodes of Angel, and I was thinking about all the time wasted just sitting around watching TV. Not doing anything at all, except staring at an electric box in the corner of the room. For the most part, I hate sitting down with the intent to watch TV (unless it’s bed time). I have to be doing other things too, even if it’s just writing or drawing. But I always find myself getting distracted and I’m sure I’m not as productive as I should be.

Fears

This experiment has me worried for a couple of reasons. My biggest fear is that I’ll fail at it. Not so much that I’ll get the shakes and have an uncontrollable urge to watch soap operas, but that I’ll either forget and innocently start watching, or that I’ll make an exception (for the finale of True Blood, for example). I feel stupid for even worrying about this, but what does it say for me if I can’t go without television for one simple month?!

Now that I got that out of the way, I can say that I’m also kind of worried about not being able to sleep since I NEED a tv on to fall asleep. Unless I’m completely exhausted, my mind wanders for hours.

Ground Rules

I’m setting some rules for this coming month. Number one: Exercise DVDs and movie nights are allowed. I’m wondering if I should allow seasons 2 & 3 of the X-Files since I’m reading a book about them. If I do, I feel like it’ll be cheating, but if I don’t I’ll have to put reading my book on hold since I like to go through the episodes as I read about them. I’m considering putting my Netflix account on hold (gasp!) because it’ll make it harder to accidentally watch something, plus I’ll save a couple bucks. (Note: I don’t have cable so Netflix IS my cable.) Should TV be allowed at the gym? I don’t really pay attention to it anyway, but I usually tune into the Simpsons if it’s on after work. I think I might let that one slide because if I don’t I probably won’t do cardio for a full half hour. I guess that’s up in the air for now.

Speculations

I think it’ll be weird and quiet at first. Already just thinking about giving up TV makes me realize how much I watch it. Hopefully I’ll get some more reading done that I keep putting off.

I’m curious to see if I actually become more productive. Maybe I’ll read more, maybe I’ll do things outside more. I don’t *think* that my current TV habits prevent me from doing those things, so it’s hard to tell what will happen.