Squirreled

The next entry in my series, The Art of Not Getting Things Done, I discuss getting squirreled…

Okay, that’s a joke, but it is recurring theme that worth taking a look at. It seems the more I read about productivity, the less I seem to accomplish. It is not that I am accomplishing less than before, but now I am more aware of how often I am dropping the ball.

Yesterday morning, I was off to do something of great importance. But then I remembered that I really wanted to subscribe to the Medium app. I downloaded this app a few weeks ago and found the articles were just fantastic. These are quick, beneficial reads that I can knock out anytime. But after a while, the “what you want to read is reserved for member’s only” pop-up started blocking the articles. Okay, I got the message, it is time to pay the man for the good stuff.

I can’t remember the last time I paid for an app. Apparently, PayPal and Apple couldn’t remember the last time either. The quick “push to subscribe” button led me down a 45 minute rabbit hole of renewing passwords, updating personal information, and choosing security questions in case the passwords and pins are deemed insufficient. By the way, Apple, when I couldn’t answer my old security questions, you gave me the option to change my questions. That seems like a little hole in the security, but thank you for allowing me to proceed with my purchase.

The process took much longer than I planned. The thing of great importance that I was off to do, well, I can no longer remember what it was. Maybe, it fell into the “things of great importance” storage container in my brain. Who knows, one day it might be retrieved from the archives. If it does, I hope it does not lose its importance.

Squirrel

Disney Pixar

Remember Dug from the Disney movie, Up? While relaying some very valuable information, Dug would get distracted by a squirrel. We used to  joke about this at work. One could be in mid sentence and get squirreled. Some get squirreled often. Yesterday morning, I got squirreled hard. Forty-five minutes flew from me before I even knew what happened. What should I have done? I should have made a note of it and returned to it when I had nothing pressing. Subscribing to an app wasn’t pressing at the time. But by allowing it to take precedence, I lost something that was potentially of greater value.

Not just squirreled hard, but squirreled often.

After my morning incident, I became aware of just how often I get squirreled. These squirrels pop up all the time. I will read a book or article that mentions another book >>> Well as a mass consumer of the written word, I never heard of this other book >>>  Let me go to Goodreads and see what it says >>> Is this author on my BookHub list, so I can get notifications if his/her books go on sale in the Kindle store? >>> Let me check my email to see what’s on sale today? >>> Oh look, more email. Before I know it, time has slipped away. I went from some very interesting reading to a meandering walk that took me away from my goal of finishing the chapter. Squirreled. And that is just reading a book. Thank God, I took the notification badges off for Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook, and all the other squirrels that lurk on my phone.

I read an article on Ryan Holiday’s Notecard system. It is a system that I want to in some way adopt. To get in the habit of using cards on a regular basis, I started keeping a 3×5 index card with me wherever I go. On the card is the 5-6 most important tasks I need to get done for the day. Hopefully, just this act alone will reap some very fruitful benefits. Usually, the back side of the card is empty. Today, I am going to call the B-side of this card my Squirrel Bucket. My hope is that all the distractions go on it. If it is worth addressing, then maybe after the front side of the card is complete, I can go back and take a look. Worth a try, right?

I can’t multi-task. If I want to get things done, I have to focus on one item at a time. It takes massive effort to temper the mind from all the distractions. Can you get things done? What do you to stay distraction-free and boost your productivity? I would love to hear about it and maybe try to incorporate it into my own life.

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. –William Penn

 

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