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Singletasking

Singletasking

Happy new year everyone.

New beginnings are of course available to us at literally any moment; we just have to recognize that there's no better time to start again. Still, it's a new year, and there's a "clean slate" feeling about it.

We did something similar last year, but, just for fun, let's imagine we're one year out -- this is early January 2024. Stay with me for a sec.

Looking back at 2023 ... how was it? Did it just slip away, driven by its own momentum, like so many before it? It's so easy to just do what we've always done. This is our default.

Will your future self, the one looking back in January 2024, thank you for the actions you took in 2023? These are decisions we can make, now.

Resolutions might help. Does anyone still make resolutions? I love the idea of them, but I, like so many others, aren't very good at keeping them.

But here's one thing I hope to pull off: I want to be more aware of going down digital rabbit holes (it's the year of the rabbit, yay) and having my attention sucked away by the ever-present magic box in my pocket. I love much of what technological change has brought us, but I'm starting to lose my ability to sustain attention. So one thing I'm looking at is getting better at feeling boredom the moment it arises.

Thresholds for boredom are basically nonexistent anymore, since we can simply reach into our pockets to check the incoming stream of digital waves to not feel the boredom. New texts and emails to answer are my main attention drainers, but I also all-too-quickly turn to google for even the mildest of curiosities ....

I used to read so many more books than I do now ... I'm finding it increasingly difficult to finish books. So I'm setting aside daily dedicated reading time while the phone stays in another room.

And I want to get better at "single tasking" -- the ability to remain at a single difficult task for an extended period. Noticing the pull, the desire to switch to something else -- eating something, checking the phone, anything but the task at hand -- is the task at hand. Noticing it, acknowledging it, and staying with the original intent.

If anyone would like to join me, I'd be honored to not be doing this alone.