A Resolution to Re-Focus in 2014

I have a hard time focusing these days.  My first thought was, “My brain just doesn’t function as well anymore.”  I scratched that thought.

While I’m sure some things don’t work as well as they did when I was younger, I think the brain can function very well into the golden age.

So I’m blaming my inability to focus on too many distractions. Or my inability to curtail all the distractions that modern technology has placed at our disposal.


The minute I turn on my laptop, smartphone, or iPad, I’m bombarded with choices. Even when I try to focus on reading my e-mail messages, my mind starts spinning off in different directions every time a click.

I have about seven different e-mail addresses and while I can gather them into one inbox, I tend to use one email address as my primary one. I organize by folders and use the red flag a lot, but often an e-mail message can trigger a whole series of tasks that involve researching files and searching the internet.

Now where was I?

Ah, focus.

Social Media

The next big distraction for me is social media. Don’t get me wrong. I love social media both personally and professionally. It’s a great communication tool for a variety of reasons. I manage the AHP page and group on Facebook as well as their counterparts on LinkedIn. My only tweets are created from shares from FB. That’s about all I handle although I see potential to do much more. The distraction occurs when you open Facebook and see the Newsfeed first. Need I say more?

The Web

And then there is the ever-present attention-grabber – the internet. A while ago, I watched a video created by Brandscaping author and niche conference speaker, Andrew Davis, called “The Search for Meatloaf .” The video starts with Drew’s Flickr search on meatloaf. He then takes you with him on a journey through recipes, Amazon.com, hunger pains, restaurants, Facebook, Twitter, WebMD, Wikipedia and more until he discovers the music artist, Meat Loaf, which then takes him on another web surfing expedition that ends when he orders concert tickets to see Meat Loaf. This happens to all of us. A simple search and we are merrily traveling down the road of distraction that is much like the sentence game where someone makes a sentence and the next person continues by making a sentence using the last word in the first sentence and so forth. Eventually, searching becomes surfing and we either re-focus on our original objective or end up wondering what we were looking for in the first place.

If you would like to watch In Search of Meat Loaf, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qODcLDvMU9Q


And then there are the apps.  Not being an owner of Apple products other than my iPad, I’ve managed to limit apps to 67 on my iPad (is that too many?) My favorites include Kindle, Instagram, Facebook, My Disney Experience, and Candy Crush and while I have limited my time on the iPad, the apps are enticing and addictive.

Modern technology has made us all very good at multi-tasking, but I wonder if that also promotes distraction. Technology has provided us with a plethora of ways to do things faster and more efficiently. However, in order to use all this technology, I spend a lot of time learning how to use the equipment and navigate the software. And like many who wear many hats, I find switching from screen to screen can lead to losing my focus on my original objective.

Where was I going with this?

Focus, Chris, focus.


Finally, there are the distractions of working from home such as repairmen, phone calls, equipment downtime, daydreaming, visitors, appointments, or interruptions like when my dog snatches something valuable from my desk. There are some days, when I want to go into my office, shut the blinds, silence the phones, and close the door for the next 8 hours. But that is unrealistic and most of these distractions are normal and everyone has them no matter where you work.

The only person I know who has honed his focus skills is my almost seven-year-old grandson. When he is on the computer or playing games on his Nintendo, nothing can distract him from his objective.

But I’m sixty years older than he is and carrying around a whole lot more clutter in my brain. As age and technology advances, there has to come a time when we stop and evaluate how to focus better to be more productive and enjoy our personal and professional lives more.

AHP member, Stacy Bearse, suggested I read the book, Focus, by best-selling author Daniel Coleman. He paraphrased a quote from the book: A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

I have the book. All I need to do now is focus while reading it. I’ll keep you posted. 

Christine Brune

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