Five years ago, I could concentrate on a single deadline for a solid 4-6 hours per session without breaking. Nowadays its feels like my attention span has dropped to 2-3 hours on average, sometimes minutes! Some observations at to why:
- In 2004, I had just graduated and didn’t have a lot of money. I was eager to make my mark.
- At that time, I did one thing well: design websites. Since then, my passions have evolved to include writing and all manner of startups—from failed t-shirt companies to ambulance chasing.
- Since I’m a firm believer in ABCs (“always be closing”), I’m constantly preoccupied with sales of the above talents, which can negatively affect my focus.
- I was tired of studying in 2004. Nowadays, Wikipedia and I are BFF as I try to soak up as much informal education as possible.
- I didn’t subscribe to 52 RSS subscriptions in 2004, like I do today. Nor did I blog or have a Facebook account. (Although I use Twitter, it doesn’t negatively affect me because I only use it to broadcast my Facebook status from my phone.)
- I didn’t have kids.
- I did more batch processing then (the grouping up similar tasks to be completed at the same time). Now I multi-task more (completing unprioritized to-dos as they arrive) because doing so feels like you’re getting more done, even though you aren’t.
Some notes on my current behavior: I love what I do. With the down economy, I have to scrap and do more menial work. I don’t work after 6 pm at the latest and typically leave my BlackBerry at home on nights to avoid doing so. Same goes for weekends. I exercise regularly. I spend too much time in Gmail, although I filter my inbox and auto delete new blog comments so I don’t get distracted (that’s why I manually check comments). I’m good at updating my calendar. I sleep well. I’m not afraid to go off the grid. I stay off Facebook on the weekends, though I check it too frequently during the work day.
Any ideas on how I can achieve better focus? Do tell!