This morning the fresh thoughts in my head needed to get out. Rather than pick up my phone where plant where automated notifications lay in wait, I found myself the reliable pen and empty pad.
Why reliable? Because my hand scribbles could keep up with my thoughts, and nothing interrupted the flow of idea from head to its external representation.
Don’t get me wrong, I like and I use technology and find it are in credibly effective. I also am aware that both its utility and benefits remain on evenly distributed. It’s because the intention of makers have yet to work out the options that please permit users and receivers to choose and prioritize their needs.
For example when I want to write, I have a choice of software. Each application has it’s merits and there are some standard features among them. Each application however remains subordinate to an operating system of the device. Each application has to specify rules of its use. Yes these include the terms of service but they also include a default that integrates with other software and plays well on different hardware. These defaults preserve the integrity of the users work, make it safe from unauthorized editors or readers, and store the bits as they appear. Some of these settings can be dictated and controlled by the user and some not.
Makers of software have learned to pay attention to how their creation gets used. In addition to the functionality they make digitally possible, great care is given to optimize the users experience. The less steps between a users intentional use and actual engagement, the better. The hardware and its operating system improves its value to end users with every new feature and application.
Software vendors who play well with multiple applications may improve user experience and vice versa. my problem is the operating system that allows other applications to distilupt my experience. This is especially painful when I’m focusing and the last thing I need is an interruption. For example in writing this post, not only did I get a notification about a news event, but a text from a friend and a bill payment interrupted me and so did my calendar.
When I write on paper that doesn’t happen. The ambient environment can influence and distract if I let it however it doesn’t pop up in the center of my attention.
We’re still making lots of trade-offs when it comes to working smarter. When I use technology, wider distribution becomes effortless, but it cost me attention and focus.
Not every request for my attention deserves immediacy. And simple on or off options don’t help. I definitely don’t open my settings to turn off notifications before starting a focused task and when I don’t it’s as if I’m working in Grand central station where any and every interruption as possible.
So no I’m not fully using technology as well as I could. I’m still using old-fashioned tools non-digital devices when I need to focus. what solutions have you found work to keep you focused when you need?