Focus

Quick update: Unfortunately I did not meet up with Bill on Monday last week. I left my clothes at the CVS and will check to see if he ever stopped by!

As for this week…

Focus. I’m instantly brought to our dining table when I hear that word. There’s my dad, checking my 7th grade math homework. While I would get 95% of the question correct, I’d slip up on a simple arithmetic part of the question and get the answer wrong. “Focus, Zack” my dad would tell me. Focus.

With so many apps and blogs and tweets, it’s easier than ever to get distracted and lose focus on what you are doing. Last night is a great example: I’m sitting on my couch watching Veep (great show on HBO — check it out). As I’m watching, I’m constantly playing with my phone. Opening apps, refreshing email, checking scores, you name it. I’m still listening to the show in the background, but I’m not giving it my 100% focus. Contrast this with how I watched Deadpool in a movie theatre (great movie! check it out as well). Walk into the theater and for 2 hours straight, I did not play with my phone or get distracted. It was awesome. And this happens anytime I walk into a movie theatre: no matter how good or how bad the movie is, I can recount the entire movie to someone because I was 100% focused on the movie.

And while I do know that my phone is the cause of my distraction the majority of the time, it’s more than just my phone. On my daily commute, I get distracted while I’m trying to listen to a podcast or audiobook. I’ll go a few minutes distracted by my own thoughts before I realize I haven’t been paying attention to the audiobook at all. When I engage in conversations, there will be plenty of instances where I or my colleague/friend/girlfriend will get distracted and not hear the last few sentences. Even in writing this post, I’ve gotten distracted by multiple apps and people (hence why this is a full week late).

Over the past few weeks of thinking about this, I’ve found that personally, focus is like a muscle. If I constantly slide into a state of “unfocused”, i.e. scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. aimlessly, it’s actually much harder to regain focus after that. On top of that, if I’m tired, my focus muscle is also tired. It’s much harder to focus on action items after just a few hours of sleep.

How about you? Any other tips to remained focused? I’m especially curious about audiobooks/podcasts and some tips on how to really actively listen as opposed to letting the words fall of deaf ears. Let me know!

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