I’ve noticed that my attention span seems to be decreasing. Even when I’m reading a book, I can’t help but keep my phone nearby “just in case” I get an important text message, e-mail, etc. Let’s be real – I don’t have anything that urgent I need to check on where I can’t set aside a solid half hour or more to immerse myself in a book. However, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve really lost focus lately – even with a good book!
I’m not going to point my finger at technology, as I am definitely a user and consumer of technology and love many of its efficiencies and benefits. However, if I take a step back, I wonder whether I always need to be “connected” and whether I am really more efficient when I am multi-tasking and checking e-mail, listening to a podcast, and bouncing back and forth with text messages at the same time. Probably not… It got me thinking about single-taking versus multi-tasking. It seems like there quite a few thoughts and articles on this topic as of late, and I keep hearing the benefits of taking time to single-task, which creates more mindfulness and awareness.
In a society where we are “on” 24×7, I think it really becomes challenging and more of an effort to single-task and focus on one thing. Given my recent lack of focus, I am going to challenge myself to single-tasking and try to be more present and “in the moment” which each thing I do, whether it be the mundane like folding laundry to the more important things like a chat over coffee with a friend, or when escaping in a good book. Anyone else out there encountering similar challenges?
I have previously confessed to having a love/hate relationship with technology. I was recently lamenting to a friend about how poor my penmanship is, which lead to a conversation about how much we rely on computers and other technology to communicate. It got me thinking – what did we used to do before e-mail?? I remember writing hand-written (long!) letters to friends when I was in school, which seems so long ago. I love the advantages that technology provides for writing – who doesn’t love being able to make quick edits and spell check? As as result of sitting in from a computer for so many hours between work and at home, I have noticed that I now find it easier to sit and write staring at a blank Word document, similar to what would have been holding my trusty pen and staring at a blank sheet of paper in the past. I find that I capture different thoughts quickly with my fingers flying across the keyboard, which I love. At the same time, it makes me a little sad to look at all of the blank books and journals I have sitting on my shelf, which I use, but not nearly as much as I used to. I also notice that when I write for longer periods of time, I get some hand cramps and my so-so penmanship starts to look like scribbles since my hand is no longer used to writing with a pen or pencil anymore. Sigh.
As someone who benefits from–and is a high user of–the different technology that is now available, I think I need to embrace all that is available. However, I don’t want to forget my past. I still have some old journals that are filled with poetry, ideas and clippings. In honor of this, I am going to find one day this month where I am going to go on a “tech fast”. With the exception of work, I am going to attempt to enjoy the simple things in life, like dusting off one of my beautiful journals and embracing my poor penmanship.
Anyone else who feels a little overwhelmed at times with all of the technology and/or misses the “old days” of pens and paper?