It seems at times that having the world at the tip of our fingers is a great thing and sometimes not such a great thing. When working on a project, on the computer, having multiple windows opened at the same time can be helpful in cases where you are stuck and seeking opinions from others that have been in the same situation or have already researched and written about the specific topic. It makes it easier to toggle back and forth between searching related topics while keeping your original project open. Sometimes, however, the Internet can be a distraction. With so much information in cyberspace it can be so easy to get side tracked into wasting time aimlessly searching the web.
Image from: www.Pinterest.com
I am going to explain how most of my projects start and the turn they can take from being clearly focussed to suddenly distracted, like this week’s blog for example. When I begin working on a project or assignment, I will find a spot somewhere in my house quiet enough to work and in my mind I find a happy place. Usually, this happy place would be the thought of sitting in my parents’ cabin by the lake looking out the window sipping on a cup of joe with no distractions; no cars honking at each other, no police sirens going off, no trains driving by, just the sounds of nature all around me and thoughts of what I want to write and speak about on my project. I start my own little brainstorm session in my head narrowing down my inner thoughts and then I start writing. The keyboard starts making beautiful percussion as my two finger typing strikes the keys, as I am in deep thought with my master plan of the end in mind. I can go for hours and hours typing my thoughts away in this word document that is starting to fill up with my bad grammar and bad English. “I’ll edit later” I’m thinking or I’ll use different synonyms so I don’t sound like I’m repeating myself. I get stumped on a word I don’t quite understand but I want to use it because I’ve heard it used before somewhere by someone who made it sound good when they put in a sentence. I look up that word and make sure I’m using it right, then I go back and re-read what I am writing to remind myself of what my point was and my thought comes back. I continue on a typing marathon only to stop for some water to hydrate then get back on track. I’m smiling because I think I’m getting my point across and really truly believe what I’m saying. Now I take a little break, refill my coffee, look out the window, and stretch a bit before I get back to work.
After a few hours, I start thinking about how things are with my wife and kids, so I get up and check on them but they are gone. I find my phone and start texting my wife. She texts back saying that they are at my sister’s place. I then go outside for a smoke and I take my phone with me to check Facebook and read posts to pass time while I sip on my coffee. I get caught up reading Facebook drama, reading old posts to find out why they said what they said and start coming up with my own theories about the situation, and figuring that I have solved the case of what’s really going on from the limited information that is given. It is totally none of my business but for a couple of minutes I was curious and now I have spent some time solving the case of the FB drama that I just read about. I get back to work but in the back of my mind something in that post reminded me of something I had to do before the end of the week. I start thinking about what it was I had to do, so I go back on FB to the post I had read to discover that it had been deleted. Now I am trying to find the missing post so I can remind myself of what it was that I was to do this week. I start scrolling in search of the missing post. I look for other people that were mentioned in the original post to find out if they wrote anything related. I end up taking another few minutes doing that just to try to find out what I was trying to think about. Now I have lost track of where I left off with my original project. After I get back to work, I re-read what I have written and try to get back on track. Suddenly, it hits me of what it was about the post that reminded me of something I had to do. It was about an audition that I was interested in attending. I wanted to find out if I had missed it already so I go back online, open another page, and minimize my word document. I start searching on Facebook, again, for the event page, only to find out it had passed. I was too late, I had forgotten about it, maybe next year I’m thinking. Ok, that’s that! I better get back to work, but then I pick up my passport which is sitting on the table. I just got in the mail over the weekend and I remember that my wife and I are going out of the country in less than two weeks. Out of curiosity, I go online to find out a little bit more about the Dominican Republic, the place we are going. Questions start coming up because I have never been there. I find out the language there is Spanish, so I go on my phone and download a Spanish translating app. I start listening to some words and phrases, trying to pronounce them for a bit.
I then think to myself, “What the hecknology!!! How did I go from a nice calm focussed task to a busy chaotic world?” The distraction of one thing, lead to another, which lead to another, and my focussed drifted in just a few short minutes. How easy it can be to get distracted when we are not focussed on the task. The picture of the window below is a metaphor for how quick and disorganized opening multiple windows while working online can get if you don’t remain focussed on the task at hand. The question is, how do I get this window to go back to the nice quite view of the lake so I can get back to work?
Image from: http://www.Pinterest.com & billcook photoshop playing around
I do believe that the Internet can be a productivity tool if the focus is clear, to the point, and only the windows needed for the specific topic are open. I also believe that Internet can be quite distracting if you’re going in with the wrong state of mind to do work.
Stay focussed and find a happy place!