Attention Span of a Gnat

I have been struggling lately. You may have noticed, it’s been a recurring theme for the past couple years and it just keeps getting worse. I have the attention span of a gnat nowadays. I look back at the things I used to accomplish in a day and that list has been getting smaller and smaller for the past 4 years or so. Unacceptable.

I have the attention span of a gnat.

This needs to change.

After a lot of consideration and discussions with friends who find themselves in similar positions as well as those who don’t, I have a theory. I think I have trained myself to be unfocused. This was obviously unintentional, but I think it’s what happened.

A few years ago when I was building websites and such for a living I had a livejournal and an ICQ account. I would check LJ once a day and keep ICQ up and running while I worked. That meant I could communicate with people if I needed or wanted to, but I wasn’t leaving the window or webpage I was on to do it. Fast forward to now and I have a LiveJournal, a Facebook account, a couple blogs and a twitter account. Discounting the blogs because they don’t fall into the same category — I have a lot more distractions. Firstly, Facebook and twitter update a lot more often than LJ. My twitter feed changes every couple minutes, that means I’m refreshing that page every couple minutes and in order to do that, I’m leaving the window I’m currently working in. Add to that the ability to get sidetracked following links or playing games on Facebook and really, it’s no wonder my brain is so fragmented and frazzled.

This hasn’t just affected my work, by the way. Look at my World of Warcraft account as another example. I play on two servers (one less than the other). On each of those servers I have 10 characters. 10. That’s the maximum. Why? Because I don’t seem to be able to focused on any one toon for very long.

The good news is I figure if I trained myself to be unfocused, unproductive and to have a short attention span, I can untrain myself too. (Is untrain a word?). Starting immediately during work hours I am only going to allow myself to check Facebook and Twitter once a day. That’s it. Just once. The same goes for Livejournal. During my off-hours I’ll ease up on myself a little bit. I will continue to check Twitter while I’m taking a long flight in WoW for example, but I need to force myself to focus when I should be working and maybe actually get something done now and then. The way things are right now is ridiculous.

Wish me luck, I might need it.

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5 thoughts on “Attention Span of a Gnat

  1. Good luck with it!

    My work has a policy (that never seems to get enforced) about no Facebook allowed so I have a tendency to stay away during work hours. I just check 3 different email addresses and twitter. hehe

  2. Thank you guys 🙂

    So far so good. No gigantic improvements yet, but slow progress.

    School starts tomorrow and I expect that to have a positive impact on my productivity as well 🙂

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