What Noticing Does

Whenever I sit down to plan, write, or create anything, I want to put myself in the best position to build something worthwhile. In order to do that, I think about all of the things I’ve been noticing up until that moment.

Here’s what this looks like when I’m writing something.

First Notice

When I started writing this piece, I remembered there was a book called The Noticer. I decided to dive into the internet to see what quotes I could find from it that might help reinforce my writing. That’s when I noticed this quote:

“Listen carefully to me. Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. There is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Have you ever considered how often we judge ourselves by our intentions while we judge others by their actions? Yet intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.” ― Andy Andrews

This quote doesn’t mention noticing directly, but its message to me in noticing was two-fold.

  1. I noticed the quote and it made me think differently about the direction I wanted to go with this article.
  2. I noticed that the author’s ideas of intention mirror mine when I say that personal productivity is all about intention plus attention.

Noticing is the seed of decision-making.

You can notice something and decide to explore it deeper. If you’re going to do that, then you’re essentially making it an intention by deciding it deserves more of your attention.

Conversely, you can notice something and decide that it’s not worth more of your time. That means you have no intention to pursue it further.

Second Notice

I decided to explore the concept of noticing further. Once again, I began searching for quotes that would fuel the fire.

There were plenty of quotes about noticing, but it was difficult to find that could work with the theme of the work I do. I almost gave in, resolved that I’d be ending this piece a couple of paragraphs ago.

Then I found it.

“I think journaling is a key to success. You can set clear goals for yourself. You can start noticing repetitive behavior patterns and see the type of things that keep bothering you, and then you can have a bird’s eye view of it.” — Eric Andre

I’ve written about journaling many times. I’m a firm believer that the power of journaling is undervalued as a personal productivity practice. Journaling is all about getting out of your head what you have been noticing, be it daily or otherwise. When you take the time to write about the things you noticed going on around you — and the things going on inside — you can make sure your intentions are getting the attention they need to flourish.

Final Notice

I started to think about the idea of what happens you stop noticing. What would that do?

This quote jumped out at me — dying to be noticed — as that question rattled through my mind:

“One must always be aware, to notice even though the cost of noticing is to become responsible.” — Thylias Moss

When you notice something, you own what you do about it. If you do nothing, you are responsible for that. If you do something (no matter what that is), you are also responsible for that.

Here are some notable examples:

  • If you notice that you’re spending too much time sharing things other people noticed on social media, then you are responsible for whatever comes of that (good or bad).
  • If you spend some time journaling about you’ve been noticing, then you are responsible for whatever comes of that (good or bad).
  • If you notice that your family needs a holiday and you decide to cut back spending so you can make that happen, then you are responsible for whatever comes of that (good or bad).
  • If you spend time noticing every email that comes in your inbox and reacting through replying immediately to each one, then you are responsible for whatever comes of that (good or bad).
  • If you notice you’re spending too much time checking email and decide to limit that time accordingly so you can have more time for deeper, more focused work, then you are responsible for whatever comes of that (good or bad).

As long as we are alive, we’ll spend our time noticing things. What noticing does is it empowers us to make decisions that craft how we spend our time and how we shape our lives.

But what does noticing do for you?

Well, that’s really up to you.

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