30 May Seeking Focus In The Age Of Distraction
Last week while talking with an ad director at a mid-market newspaper she observed,
“We are just juggling conflicting priorities. There are more things to sell than ever — print, online, mobile, video, contests, agency services and more. Yet we have fewer and fewer people to do the selling. Then corporate comes in every month and lays out a new priority. It’s an almost impossible to manage.”
At a recent CTW team meeting editorial director Matt Miller wished aloud for “a quiet place to focus on my work without interruption.” CTW has an open floor plan office space. We all sit out in the middle of everything and everyone.
Thursday morning I read “How to Run ‘Naked’ — and Love It,” by Jason Gay in the Wall Street Journal. Gay cast off his smart phone, watch, fitness wristband, heart-rate monitor, virtual coach app, headphones, music, etc. when he runs.
“A tranquil hobby was offering no tranquility. I was taking everything I was running away from, and dragging it right along with me.”
After leaving all of his technology behind, Gay started noticing things when he ran:
“…kayaks in New York Harbor, the landscape and an astonishing number of condominiums that I will never be able to afford.”
Technology intended to make things simpler, faster, easier, better also blinds us to opportunities right before our eyes. Focus has become an illusive luxury. Competing priorities undermine productivity and happiness.
Distraction should be fun, but often is anything but.