I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more ADD I feel. It recently occurred to me that I’ve probably not actually developed this affliction, so what is it?
By the way, how many things do you try to focus on at once?
After much frustration and ultimately contemplation, I realized, multiple focus doesn’t work. Like trying to get a camera to clearly detail someone standing near as well as the waterfall in the background. It can’t. The camera’s indicator wants to know “where do you want to focus?”
So, the good news – I am not ADD. The problem = where, out of the hundreds of things happening around me, do I want to focus?
Are you aware that we’re actually losing our ability to focus? We’ve literally trained our brains to constantly jump from one thing to the next. That’s not normal, or good.
It all started in the era of my childhood. TVs began appearing in every home. Each show was interrupted, approximately every 12 minutes, by a commercial. Some said breaks appear in television programs because of people’s inability to focus for long lengths of time. Not true. The stations need money from advertisers so they put in as many commercials as they can.
And so, our brains became trained to look for interruptions. We began to loose the ability to focus for long periods. We learned to be ADD.
The demise continued. Pagers and portable phones created more interruptions in our day. We now have cell phones and personal computers that beep, buzz and vibrate non-stop with everything from emergencies, friends, and family to news-weather-and-stock updates.
We are living busier and busier lives and our focus, therefore our accomplishments, have paid the price.
Stop and think: are you busy, or are you accomplishing? Are you satisfied at the end of the day, or do you simply have a bunch of items crossed off a list? There’s a big difference between movement and achievement.
In the need for a sense of accomplishment, we write down to-do items just so we can cross them off our list, just for the momentary “high” of acknowledging we did something. But, are those things-on-our-list leading to a fulfilling result? Are you making progress toward a goal or just proving how busy you are?
Whether you’re stressed or fulfilled has little to do with what you’re doing (how busy you are), or even the results you’re producing (what you cross off the list). If you’re stressed, check your ability to focus.
What we need is a new system of thinking. Coming up, I'll focus on how to get clarity and how to settle our busyness into action steps that actually move us toward an intentional, fulfilling goal.