Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry

Get it together

The coming and going, the thinking goes, is what keeps pushing us three steps forward and one step back.

We’ve been engineered for quick play, left grasping at the nearest of solutions.

Too distracted to pursue the slightest idea, we settle for unintentionality.

The gaps begged to be filled and we were so occupied we missed their telling messages.

There’s only one thing left to do: recentralize focus.

Categories
Productivity & Work Psychology Quotes Tech

What holds attention determines distraction

Even checked distractions will lead you to distraction. What holds attention determines distraction

This very day I have been repeating over and over to myself a verbal jingle whose mawkish silliness was the secret of its haunting power. I loathed yet could not banish it. 

What holds attention determines action.

William James, The Principles of Psychology

Was it a rhyme or a sick joke that got in the thinker’s way? What do you think James was referring to?

Fast forward to modern day distraction

Categories
Productivity & Work Social Media Tech

Working against attention residue

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Going to work to answer emails won’t make you a better emailer, just as another five minutes on Twitter won’t improve your social networking game. Email, Twitter, and incoming messages drain our cognitive fitness.

Continuous partial attention fragments our mind and impedes deep thought, which is at the core of doing meaningful work.

How are we alive if all we do is process tasks?

Digital knowledge work seems to be typing into little boxes all day. We confuse distraction with busyness.

If we are the CEO of us, perhaps we need better focus engines to keep our eyes on the donut and not the donut hole.

Listen to You 2.0: The Value Of ‘Deep Work’ In An Age Of Distraction

gif via The Daily Dot

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

One infinite loop

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  • Smart watches
  • Kindle books
  • Spotify streams

The newest technologies erode their physical counterparts, but they also revitalize interest in the old stuff.

The sensory, tactile experience of analog items as those listed above literally feel more special. They are stimulants: the subtle noise of a telltale “tick-tock,” the fresh smell of an unopened book, or the surface noise of vinyl, not to mention the album art that doubles as real-life Instagrams to make fancy wall art

People want reality. They want to disconnect from the internet’s dizzying pace and reconnect to those micro moments.

Nature nurtures and refocuses our sense of being. We are more than just robots seeking the temporary therapy of distraction.

Categories
News Tech

Filtering out clickbait

Filter wisely
Filter wisely (via imgur)

Clickbait is the result of a 24/7 news cycle. Media companies create stories of unimportance so that they can get another click to drive up revenues. The entire operation intends to suck your attention and waste your time, along with depleting your brain cells.

In short, the news makes your brain fat. That’s why you have to step away from Twitter and reset your RSS feeds every six months. Delete the newsletters that contain links to useless articles. Or just read books. Consuming all the headlines makes none of them significant, leaving little room in your head for remembering what is actually important. Shane Parrish of the educational Farnam Street blog recently dissected the abundance of media in an article entitled ‘The Pot-Belly of Ignorance‘:

“Clickbait media is not a nutritious diet. Most people brush this off and say that it doesn’t matter … that it’s just harmless entertainment.

But it’s not harmless at all. Worse, it’s like cocaine. It causes our brains to light up and feel good. The more of it we consume, the more of it we want. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Be careful what you take in as it directly influences what you put back out. Even more, reflect on what you read since that’s where you connect ideas and start to develop your own. Of course, you need to identify trustworthy sources. Start with the publication and curators you trust and make a list of potential resources based on their hyperlinks.

Fill your mind with less, not more. And most importantly, work it off, trying to make sense of what you absorbed in the attempt to craft an original thought.

Categories
Culture Productivity & Work Tech

Multi-tasking: how to survive in the 21st century

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Answering emails during a meeting. Tweeting a live debate. Multitasking is more tempting than ever because it’s too easy to flip between screens of content.

“What we’re often calling multitasking is in fact internet addiction. It’s a compulsive act, not an act of multitasking.”

Conversely, multitasking sustains creativity. Switching between projects may help you to see how they connect. Multitasking leads to flow which leads to new ideas.

“The act of switching back and forth can grease the wheels of thought.”

Either way, we can hardly remember when our brain is half-engaged. Pro tip: if you’re suffering from the anxiety of unfinished tasks, aka the “Zeigarnik effect,” write them down and come back to them later.

Tim Harford: “Multi-tasking: how to survive in the 21st century”