The Christmas and New Year holiday was wonderfully restive and felt everlasting.
But one thing I didn’t do was disconnect from the social web (I usually do on hols – and am well ready to forgo the Twitters and the Facebooks :).
In fact, I borrowed the company’s iPad, and found myself spending mindless hours almost every evening after the kids went to bed, just cycling between Facebook, Twitter, my favourite mountain biking forum, my second favourite mountain bike forum and a few bikey ecommerce sites. I found that the iPad is the ultimate sofa device.
These were, I’m afraid, empty hours. 97% pointless. And I slowly became more conscious of how I was rotating between each site, searching for something new and alive to pique my interest.
Coming back to work was always going to be interesting and yesterday I felt totally disorientated. I also felt angry about my cravings to check to see the new on the web, so I started a little tracker.
Here it is so far:
So yesterday morning, as I started the important job of pulling my thoughts and then slides together for the Brighton TEDx in about 3 weeks time, every time I felt the physical urge to go check the internets for something new, I scribbled a tally on a post it.
The black ink is yesterday between 8 am and 11 am, and the red ink this morning between 8.30 am and 10 am.
The research I’ve read seems to vary about how distracting or what the time cost is of each distraction (that is, each distraction indulged in), but it seems to be something between 15 minutes to get back to the same level of concentration upto 45 minutes .
It’s really scary to me – I feel like I’m facing up to a habit that doesn’t serve me, the truth of something that controls me more than I control it.
Especially when I think about how much I want to get this talk right, which has been the sole task of these two morning slots – my most productive in a given working day.
In some small but real way, each scrawl feels like a bullet dodged, a computer virus snaffled, a cigarette or burger not consumed. There’s a superiority that comes with avoidance (little victories!).
But isn’t it addictive, this thing we do? I know the research is out there, but this is me, my attention, my life.
The Four Hour Work Week, and all that other GTD / work/life hacking type stuff.
PS. I know my views on this are a little tradition, someone like the awesome Stowe Boyd might encourage the always-on-ness, and celebrate being an inforvore. I see truth in that too, but still feel the above – the two feel directly opposed, in tension.