Thursday, September 30, 2010
Do You Have a Hard Time Focusing?
I unfortunately have the attention span of a nine year old with ADHD. It's awful. For instance, I wrote this article while I should have been working. I constantly find myself checking my fave blogs, listening to music or chatting with my office neighbor, even texting while I should be focusing on the work I'm actually paid to do. If I manage to finally devote time to the task at hand, I find myself getting sleepy. I've never been the most focused person ( I was notorious for writing my papers and studying at the last minute ) but I think it's the worse it's ever been! I thought I was slick and doing a good job of hiding my problem when my coworker called me out on my short attention span.
Now I could go to a doctor and ask for some Ritalin or Adderall but well
One: I don't have insurance and health-care still isn't universal and
Two: I don't think I have an uncontrollable problem.
I think it's a mixture of boredom and lack of discipline. Do I really need to be listening to Arcade Fire and reading Gawker.com as soon as I come into work? No, no I don't think so.
What I need is control before my ass is fired. Procrastination affected my grades in college but this is my bread and butter on the line! What's a girl to do?
And like manna out of heaven, my solution appeared.
While I was on Gawker (ha) I came across this article written by Clay Johnson, a man having trouble focusing at work. It was like he too came from the planet Slacker and spoke my language. When he wrote about his improved productivity, I leaned in to read on, needing to know what the secret was.
It turned out there wasn't a secret. Its all about being on a schedule and managing your attention. We happen to live in a world of instant gratification. Everything we want to know is accessible via the internet. People are so accustomed to being in the loop that if they are disconnected for a few minutes they feel like they have missed something important (thanks for that Twitter, cuz we really need to know what Ashton Kutcher is doing all the time). I, like many people, am guilty of this. I have to be connected at all times or I feel like I am somehow behind.
So I have to work for 45 minutes straight. After that, I allow myself to pee, chat, eat,check my personal emails, blogs, twitter for the remaining fifteen minutes. I continue like this all day omitting a lunch break from my schedule (it only makes me sleepy for the rest of the day).
It's not perfect but it's working for me and I'm a lot more productive than I used to be. And I'm down to ten minute breaks.
Check out the post, it's a good read.
Do you have a hard time focusing at work?