Focus and distraction are on my mind just now. Having implemented a lot of the ideas from Getting Things Done I find some considerable increase in the number of times I feel in control of the chaos I create. I’ve been living with this system for a few months now and can recommend it, but having put in place tools to help with focus, I’m now faced with my tendency towards – actually my love of – distraction.
The principal one is PC-switching. During the day I sit in front of three PCs, my personal one and two work-related ones; I have one monitor and switch the display from one PC to another as needed. I receive email to three different addresses on the three machines. So a common distraction I find is that while I’m waiting for PC1 to do something (contact a site, burn a CD, reboot), instead of sitting there, I’ll switch to PC2 and see if there’s any email. Oh, there is, and it has a link to a website … here we go…. Or I’ll recognise that I’m tired, been sitting typing for two hours, need a break – but instead of a break I’ll switch to PC1 and see if anyone’s posted a comment on my blog, or if there’s anything interesting in any of the discussion groups. Becoming aware of these tendencies is the first step. I’ve shied away from one logical step, which is simply to have the non-work PC switched off when I’m working. I hope I can rely on a bit more self-discipline to use them appropriately.