I sit here writing these thoughts, sparked by a tweet from a Ted Talk. My iPad is playing an episode of something. My mobile and tablet both have hundreds of notification bubbles on apps across the board. My watch has only stopped buzzing because the east coast went to bed (or was it cause I put it on Do Not Disturb…) And I am staying up late in hopes for a Facetime moment with my wife who is half a world away.
So, yeah, you could say I live in a near constant state of distraction.
I just updated WordPress and noticed the post authoring page has a ‘Distraction free writing mode’ where everything fades. Albeit, I am not using it.
I know my experiences aren’t that different from lots of people. We all struggle with it. My wife and I have to make a conscious decision sometimes to put the phones down, face down. Dixie started a campaign #DarkForDinner on twitter. They theme each week with a different ‘ice breaker’ idea.
And it occurs to me, one of my greatest commodities, is my attention. To those I report to, to show I respect them and listen to them. To those who report to me, well, to show I respect and listen to them. To my wife, to show she is the love of my life. To my family to show I appreciate and miss them.
And others in my life, their attention is a commodity I am fighting for, if not all the time, then when I want it most. So let’s all recognize that something is coming into focus socially: we still need each others attention.
We can’t as individuals process, with confidence, several things at once. We can’t read, listen, comprehend, respond – all at once. I would never think to write an email while someone is talking to me; but I think nothing of reading an email while someone is speaking. Why is that? Though reading and listening must be easier than writing and listening, why am I forgiven that behavior? Why am I forgiving it?
So I vow to work to give my attention to you more purposefully, and in return ask that you give me the gift of your attention.