Staying Focused

Me, Myself, and this blog — Sean Bonner @ 1:17 am
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Continuing on my thoughts the other day about the difference between knowing what you want and getting what you want it only makes sense to talk about what happens after that. Or at least, after you’ve isolated some kind of goal. How do you stay locked in and focused on attaining that? Hell if I know.

That probably wasn’t the answer you were hoping for but it’s the truth. I struggle with this as much if not more than anything. In some situations I’m not too shabby in the ‘decide what I want’ stage, but often get distracted by something shiny long before I get my hands on what I was after in the first place. This happens in pretty much every aspect of my life. Sometimes I even watch it happening – I see the distractions, realize they are taking me off course and immediately decide to correct that and get back on course… right after I finish this thing here… oh wait, I should write that down before I forget it… wait… what was I getting at? Oh nevermind, if it’s important it’ll come back to me later.

Take this for example – today someone asked me what my plans for the night were. “Staying home and catching up on my blogging” was my reply, I believe. I have a list of about 25 things I’m simply dying to write about and haven’t and I wanted to chop a few off of that. I got home around 7pm and opened my laptop. I responded to some emails, started IMing with people – some too much, some not enough, I posted some news on SF Metblogs then got in an argument about if bloggers can be a news source or not and suddenly it’s midnight and I haven’t crossed one thing off the “to blog” list. Yet. Luckily “struggling to keep focus” is one of those. Zing!

That’s a macro view of a much larger issue of course. The same thing happens on far grander scale all the time. And it’s not really new. I have a pretty big tattoo about just that. Well, kind of just that. Basically it’s about how when you start off doing something – anything really – it often looks simple and straight forward. You see your path laid out for you and you get moving. The more you get involved the harder it is to see the path and things start changing. By the time you get to the end it’s entirely different than what you set out to do, and frequently there were outside forces that threw buckets of wrenches into your plans, and even more frequently the whole thing repeats itself. Again and again. I got that tattoo when I was 19, if only I’d known what I was foreshadowing for myself.

In a kind of fitting way, I don’t know where I’m actually going with this thought process at the moment, but it’s something weighing on me a lot recently and something I’m trying to work through. If I figure out the solution, I’ll be sure to blog it.

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4 Comments »

  1. From The Simpsons episode 3F24 “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer” ( The Mysterious Voyage of Homer )

    Coyote ( played by Johnny Cash ): “The problem, Homer, is that the mind is always chattering away with a thousand thoughts at once.”

    Homer: Yeah, that’s me all right. [Homer has a glazed look in his eyes as the wind blows his two hair strands.]

    Coyote: Clarity is the path to inner peace.

    Homer: You know, I have been meaning to take a spiritual journey, and I would… [the coyote is chewing his pant leg] Hey! Knock it off! [kicks him]

    Coyote: [sheepishly] Sorry. I am a coyote.

    Comment by Todd — January 14, 2009 @ 1:50 am
  2. Something that works sometimes for some of us. Schedule time to work on a task – in iCal or whatever. Turn off IM, Tweet Deck, hide your iPhone and G1, etc. Start with a short amount of time, like 10 minutes or 20 minutes to focus on that task. Work up from there.

    At the end of the day we are all our worst enemies. We can achieve or we can do nothing. What do you want, really really want?

    Comment by Tara Brown — January 14, 2009 @ 10:57 am
  3. “Basically it’s about how when you start off doing something – anything really – it often looks simple and straight forward. You see your path laid out for you and you get moving. The more you get involved the harder it is to see the path and things start changing. By the time you get to the end it’s entirely different than what you set out to do, and frequently there were outside forces that threw buckets of wrenches into your plans, and even more frequently the whole thing repeats itself. Again and again. I got that tattoo when I was 19, if only I’d known what I was foreshadowing for myself.”

    I have a whole map about that aka le Artemis site. And it’s due for an evolution. ;-)

    Comment by @jsto — January 14, 2009 @ 1:59 pm
  4. I use a Yahoo widget to stay focused. I set it for 12 minutes, and work on a single project for that 12 minutes. Then I give myself (if I need it) six minutes to let my brain rest. Then on for another 12, repeat. I often find that after one cycle, the 12 minutes is up, but I set the timer for another 12. Then another, etc.

    Comment by Greg Turner — January 15, 2009 @ 9:23 am

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