I have a very short attention span. I’m like Doug in ((squirrel)) the film “UP” ((squirrel)). If you haven’t seen the film… and you know you should have… Doug is a dog that talks… and is often distracted by movements and noises. When he is distracted he shouts “Squirrel”. That’s me.
Except the things that distract me aren’t squirrels… although if a squirrel were to appear in front of me whilst I was typing away… I do think it would distract me. No, the things that distract me are Texts... Tweets… Facebook comments… interesting design blog posts… games on "words with friends" and trying to find the perfect song that matches my present mood.
In essence, I am distracted by the “figital” nature of my iPhone4 and my iPods.
I also find instant messaging a distraction… and the ping of an email throws me off course too. Oh and don’t get me started with people… I’m a people person and consider it rude not to respond when I am asked a question.
Whilst the toys maybe new… and the questions are always varied… this isn’t a new occurrence for me – I’ve always had a poor attention span. I wish I could self-diagnose ADHD or something… but I can’t.
So here’s the thing… what do you do to aid your concentration?
I’ve found four things so far that help:
- Removing all “push” alerts on my iPhone4 or iPad. I keep the badges but not the pings. This helps. It means my electronic comfort-blankets are NOT ping, ping, pinging me all day long… demanding my attention. I go to them when I want to see if there’s anything new… which is far more figital, if I am honest.
- This is where the second aid comes into play… I forward calls from my iPhone4 to my original iPhone. This means I can put my iPhone4 out of reach, physically and mentally, and just have my phone for calls and texts (that reminds me… I need to make sure Olly know this number for texts). My original iPhone has a pay-as-you-go SIM that has a zero balance. This means it doesn’t have a data subscription and, as such, can’t access all the tweets, comments and alluring design posts that act as Sirens enticing me to my productivity doom.
- My last point is music… I am a firm believer in music… its my golf! I find listening to certain types of music helps me to concentrate: orchestral movie soundtracks (especially John Williams & Howard Shore)… long-form ambient electronica… deep ambient techno mixes from mixotic… music that doesn’t demand my attention with lyrics or breaks in theme.
- Setting short-term goals with rewards helps me too: “do this by 10am” or “do that before I have a cup of tea”… these wee challenges keep me active. I might even reward myself with a wee peak at PSFK.com or my iPhone4 if I meet my challenge. Sometimes.
Hopefully, these tips will continue to work for me. But I am eager to hear if you have anything else that may work? Leave a comment or “@” me.