This attention exercise proved to be more difficult than the first, as it wasn’t my attention while online that was the issue; I was just simply distracted with life. Not only was I distracted but I was procrastinating.
I made a list of to do’s, as I normally do, but struggled to tackle anything on that list. One of my class projects seemed overwhelming and I was avoiding it. Because this project was my main priority over the weekend, and I was avoiding it, the rest of my homework got put on the back burner.
I found all sorts of other things to do with my time. I cleaned my house from top to bottom and then offered to help clean a friend’s house. I also ended up walking around McKinney trade days because the weather was so refreshing and I wanted to be outdoors. I did this and more all while knowing I had a list of assignments waiting for me at home.
Eventually I got around to tackling the project and was surprised at how well it turned out. When it was finally complete I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders and was able to organize a plan of attack for the rest of my schoolwork.
I realized during these two exercises that I am prone to distraction and procrastination but once I get started I find myself super focused. I just need to be able to find the motivation to get started. Perhaps I will have to start a breathing/meditation ritual prior to starting my homework to calm and focus my mind.
Attention and distraction go hand in hand in an online world. It is super easy for people to get distracted while working online because they can easily open another browser and surf around for a bit and before you know it you’ve lost hours.
Generally I don’t get as distracted when I am working on projects that are offline because there isn’t an easy distraction factor and the tasks tend to be hands on.
Also I find I am more distracted before I begin a project because I tend to procrastinate and find other things to do. Cleaning my house becomes uber appealing when given the choice of homework or cleaning. However, once I get started on something I tend to hyper focus and knock it out.
Here is how my attention assignment played out:
I sat down to start working on homework and immediately realized how beautiful the weather was so within a few minutes I was daydreaming about being at a park or a beach. I got up to shut off the AC and opened all my windows and contemplated going to the park. I refrained as I had a lot of work to do and would be distracted even moreso if I ventured out.
It was a struggle not to focus on this exercise and as I continued to work my thoughts drifted back to this assignment. I was being distracted thinking about being distracted! Usually I think about other assignments or tasks that I have to accomplish while I am attempting to complete something else. I think my brain goes in to a bit of frenzy and tries to schedule and reschedule my task lists.
I found myself texting and instant messaging with friends and ended up taking a break from my online reading to scroll through Facebook.
After a few minutes I went back to work on my homework, during which time I received two phone calls which I answered; one from a friend and one from work. I know had to open a new browser to issue a direct bill, follow up with the hotel to ensure they received the direct bill, and then follow up with the employee that was waiting for payment to be sent on their behalf.
After reading online for what seemed like forever I began to wonder how much more there was to this chapter. I flipped through the pages to get an idea of how much more I had to read and how much longer I had to dedicate to the task at hand.
My Thoughts on the experiment:
I enjoy experiments like this that bring awareness to our behaviors in a media driven world. This experiment reminds me of another assignment from my Intro to Communications course last semester. The class was challenged to a 24 hour media fast. Being disconnected felt so refreshing!