Filtering DistractionsPosted: December 28, 2015 Filed under: Misc. 2 Comments
“I’ve trained all my life not to be distracted by distractions.” —Nik Wallenda, daredevil, seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallenda’s Family
When my daughters were in high school, I looked on in amazement as they studied. They’d have music playing and/or the television on while responding to the never-ending buzz of social media notifications. This didn’t stop them from finishing a paper or studying for a test, and their good grades showed this method worked for them.
I can’t imagine settling down to work with so many distractions. Is it a question of age? A quick Google search locates many articles that confirm that as we age, our ability to filter distractions decreases.
Likely just as significant is one’s definition of a “distraction.” The background noise of a coffee shop, for example, doesn’t bother me at all. The gentle mix of music, other people’s conversations, and the familiar sound of the coffee grinder or espresso machine blend together in a pleasant cacophony.
From time to time I need quiet and dark to filter out distractions. On other occasions, looking out a window and noticing weather, nature, and general goings-on can bring focus. Driving is another opportunity to control and shape the environment. Loud music, National Public Radio, or quiet thoughts with a stack of post-it notes at the ready can each be therapeutic in their own way. Other times it’s just heads down into the computer or forcing myself to apply extra concentration to a phone conversation or conference call. Mindfulness techniques that keep me in the moment can be a great help.
I’m curious what filters others use to keep out unwanted distractions. What are the characteristics of environments that hinder your focus? What are the conditions that foster productivity?
Weekly Download 15.21Posted: December 23, 2015 Filed under: Weekly Download Leave a comment
Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.
7 Pieces of Wisdom That Will Change the Way You Work is written from the perspective of a writer, but the helpful, universal reminders can be applied to any career.
The Age of Disinformation addresses how to filter hype in broadcast and social media. It’s no easy feat.
Here’s a blast from the past: the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism,” which I recently heard on talk radio. Its first known usage was in 1970 by Vice President Spiro Agnew, in a speech penned by White House speechwriter William Safire. It summed up his often-hostile relationship with the media and how he viewed the incessant, negative chatter by this prominent and influential group. Learn more from this entry in Taegan Goddard’s Political Dictionary.
The convergence of cloud technologies, the Internet of Things and big data analytics is real. As World Crowds In, Cities Become Digital Laboratories spotlights interesting applications in New York City. Their interactive graphics are incredible.
The capabilities of data mining seem to be only limited by imagination. Here’s one quirky, but interesting application: Data Mining Reveals How Smiling Evolved During a Century of Yearbook Photos.
Addicted to Distraction offers this definition: “Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life.” Reality check time—are you due for a detox? This is one addict’s tale.
I knew my journaling habit was a good thing! Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary agree.
When in Doubt, Give GadgetsPosted: December 21, 2015 Filed under: Technology Leave a comment
Need a few last minute ideas for holiday gifts? In my opinion, a good device deserves a good gadget. Here are a few ideas that any technophile would appreciate:
- Apple Watch stand
- iPhone stand
- USB charging battery
- USB desktop charger
- Micro USB cables
- iPhone glass screen protector