Thursday, 9 October 2008

How to Focus but Not Too Much

Do you ever have those days when you want to do everything but what you should be doing? There are so many things I could do in a day and so many of them are good things. But I have a 250 page manuscript that needs editing and a primary program to edit. Instead I want to go sew.

I think a huge part of the problem lies in my ability to become completely immersed in a project. Whatever I start doing I probably won't put away until it's done or a child starts begging for food. This has served me well when I am under deadlines for prom dresses or writing submissions, but the self-imposed deadlines I have right now aren't nearly as motivating as those set by someone else.

There are days when I wonder if investing in a timer might be wise. Maybe if I give myself an hour to do something and then when the timer goes off, I can move to the next task. (The timer is necessary because otherwise I'm bound to lose track of time.) I think this could be good for the quality of the things I work on as well. If I stop sewing before my back gets sore and my wrist goes numb the sewing project is sure to look more professional. If I stop writing before my brain goes fuzzy and I fall asleep at the keyboard I would probably need to make fewer corrections.

Since I'm so good at focusing on one thing, it seems a little counter-productive to try to learn not to focus as much. Hopefully more will get done and I can do more of the things that pull me every which way. How do you divide your time among all the things you need to get done in a day?


Kimberly said...

I have the exact same problem. My attention is too long rather than too short. Do let us know if you figure out the knack of it!

Don said...

For me, the timer is the key. I plan out my whole week from 6 am to 10 pm every weekday, and I have alarms set to let me know when I need to finish my exercise and writing periods. I even have alarms to tell me when to stop and eat, which is driven by my need to take so many doses of medicine, with food, so many hours apart. And it helps

I use a timer program on my Treo, but I think a simple kitchen timer would work, too.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Kimberly - I only have a long attention span when I'm in the middle of something. Once I walk away and do something else, I have the hardest time going back to the half-finished project.

Don - What I need to find is a timer I can wear around my neck so it goes everywhere with me. to hear from someone who uses a timer successfully

Heather B. Moore said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I have a sewing project looming over my head--to make 26 shorts for my daughter's play. I know I need to get started, but everything else gets in the way :)

Anne Bradshaw said...

I know exactly what you mean! I've just wasted a whole precious morning doing things I enjoyed instead of things I needed to do. Oh well, there's always tomorrow . . .

ali said...

That is an awesome idea Stephanie! I am going to have to try that, because I am the same way.

How is it working for you so far?

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