I was surfing the Internet (which I spend far too much time doing) and I was looking up articles like “mental fatigue” and “brain fog”, just seeing if there were methods that people use to combat this feeling of just being mentally tired all the time.
And I found an article about 10 Things Brain Fog Might Be Telling You. (Tells you how much brain fog I have that I couldn’t concentrate long enough to read the article to get through all ten items.) But one thing jumped out at me. The author talked about the concept of Deep Work.
I’d never heard of this before, and thought it sounded interesting, so I did some research on that. This is based on a book called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. The author talks about how crucial the ability to concentrate in a focused manner for periods of time is going to be in a world of constant distraction.
The author focuses on the idea that when you are constantly interrupted, you’re doing very shallow work that ultimately does not make you further along in progress toward your important goals. It also actually has real detrimental effects on your ability to focus in the future. You’re actually hurting your ability to do focused work by the constant bombardment of distraction. Anxiety is higher–almost a constant thrum of anxiety goes on because of your inability to get away from distractions.
I have noticed this happening to me a LOT as of the last year or two. I feel like I flit from thing to thing–check an email, go look at Facebook, run back and check Twitter, look at some video on YouTube. Never ends.
I hardly read books anymore. I can’t focus. My writing comes much harder to get into and work on because I’m so pulled by other things. I rarely ever feel completely relaxed.
I had to shake my head today about how perfect this idea was for where I am right now. I had driven a different way to work today and I passed by a school bus stop. Five teenagers standing in a loose line, waiting for the bus. All of them on their cell phones.
I think it’s pretty much permeated everywhere. Even before this, I was thinking that I really needed a social media fast. I’d been far too into following political stuff on Twitter (which is a cesspool of epic proportions, let me tell you!), and I felt like Facebook had just become one big long advertisement. And yet I still would be distracted by them, constantly checking them–like a little rat in the laboratory, looking for some sort of good post or someone liking something I’d commented on or whatever. It’s designed to be addictive. It’s designed to keep you distracted, anxious and unhappy.
There have to be better ways of looking at and dealing with the world.
I may end up buying the book, but I think I want to try to follow the principles behind it. Carve out time in my schedule to do “deep work”. If I could get even 2-3 sessions of an hour a piece during the week, I think I’d be so much further along in the things I wanted to do.
I’m feeling more and more convicted that I need to pare back, concentrate, and put my focus into what is valuable and good. Not what is distracting and valueless.
The weekend comes up soon. I am going to try to find some places to put in some sessions of deep work. I think I need this discipline in my life.
How about you?