I have a confession to make: I design software and databases on paper. I also do about half of my blogging on paper. Some of the best fiction writing I have done has been in my notebook, scribbled while sitting in a coffee shop.
This may come as a surprise to those who know me well. I practically hyperventilate when deprived of my PDA for more than a couple hours, and my laptop travels with me on vacations.
I take comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one who does things offline, though0. Over at Blogging and Productivity, Daniel admits that some of his best writing is done when his internet connection fails. The thing that caught my eye, though was “unplug from distractions when you need to get some work done”. I began to think about the applicability to my general life. I multi-task often. Unfortunately, I multi-task very badly. And if I truly want to accomplish something, it means I have to get rid of the distractions. Distractions are everywhere!
As I thought about this, though, it became apparent to me that many of my distractions are self-inflicted. For example, as I am working at the computer, I remember an email I have to send and go off on the tangent, only to return to what I was supposed to be doing two hours later. Or I see something that needs to be mended as I am putting clothes away, and get sucked into the black hole of our spare room, cleaning, purging, organizing, only to realize before bed that I still have stacks of laundry waiting.
One of my goals is to learn how to concentrate on one thing and not get sidetracked by the thoughts zinging through the old noggin at any one time. I am sure that multitasking is actually a deterrent to productivity. It stands to reason that I only have 100% attention to give at any given point; if I am multitasking, then I am not giving full attention to anything.
Somehow, somewhere, I need to unplug the multi-task machine and focus. Any suggestions?