Friday, October 02, 2009

The world is too busy

The world is full of distractions. Television, radio, mobile devices, computers, magazines. Technology is a wonderful thing. It can also take over our lives if we let it.

On the up side, we have an endless stream of information at our fingertips. On the down side, we are constantly distracted by demands on our attention from the endless torrent of information.

We stifle our productivity by increasing our workloads beyond what we are capable of.

We need to find an oasis of tranquillity in all this.

Here's some ideas on how.

Slow down. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, we need to do less work. There are limits to our attention and time. Ignoring this won't make it go away. It just makes it worse. Learn to prioritise.

Declutter. Stacks of papers on your table top. Files and icons on your computer desktop. They are distractions that prevent you from focusing on what you want to accomplish. Spend time decluttering your workspace. It helps in reducing stress when you work.

Remove distracting busy work. While we're trying to create things of value, there's constantly a stream of distractions striving to prevent us from doing our best work. Phone calls, email, Facebook, IMs, colleagues, friends, and family all conspire to distract us whether intentionally or no. Remove as many of these as possible so that you can have more time to focus on the task at hand. Check emails and social networks only a few times a day, for example, and only at specified times.

Learn to appreciate solitude. There's nothing like a distracting television show to draw your attention away from your work. If at all possible find a time of day when you'll have peace and quite to do your work. You'll be able to focus on your work better, and it's more relaxing to do your work without fighting with yourself to maintain focus.

Learn to relax. Meditation really helps when you need to learn to relax. It's also healthy mentally and physically. There's no need for elaborate meditation routines. Simple is best. Some people may find cooking relaxing. Bookworms may enjoy a nice book for an hour or two. Find something that works for you. It should be relaxing, simple and enjoyable.