Wednesday, 29 August 2012

My blog gave me ADD

there's a reason my hair isn't in this picture.

This here little blog's birthday is coming up next month, and I would like to reflect for a moment upon what the last two years of addiction to passion for blogging and social media have done for me.

Besides all of the wonderful things, which I would not like to discuss here today, the birth of this blog and hence my deep immersal into all things Internet and Social Media related has given me one gnarly, gnarly case of ADD. Now that I am launching my own business, I'm realizing more than ever just how severe the case really is as I try to get legit, people-are-paying-me-to-do-this-work work done.

I used to be able to concentrate sometimes. I used to be able to spend more than 10 consecutive minutes on one project, or heck, one THOUGHT. That is no longer the case. Most of the time I feel like there are 4 million thoughts bouncing around my head all at the same time, and an even greater number of overall distractions when I'm trying to work on something.

Phone calls. Emails. Texts from friends. Twitter.  Facebook. Instagram. The four tabs I have open on Chrome or Safari. My mom FaceTiming me since now we both have iMacs and she knows I'm always on my computer. ;)  (love you Mom.) I actively participate in all kinds of communication media, but I'm also addicted to the feedback,  which prevents me from just setting it down and concentrating on what I need to concentrate on, whether that's cleaning my house, tackling my inbox, editing photos, or making progress on some other project.

It. Is. Bad. I find myself having very few original thoughts anymore. Or really, very few real thoughts at all, because I don't even allow myself time to just sit and be. Red stop light? What a perfect time to check my email or Facebook or Instagram or return a text. Toilet break? Same deal. Cooking dinner? The phone is nearby, you can bet your behind on it. Bed time? Excellent opportunity to read blogs! Alarm just went off in the morning? Why don't I wake my mind by skimming some emails. I cram information into every iota of time in my day, but is it really even information, or is it just mindless consumption of pictures and text? I think it's more the latter, and like I said, also a way to feed my addiction to feedback. Holy crap, I just wrote that sentence and then clicked over to Facebook to see if there was anything interesting going on. ADD, I tell you. The Internet did it to me.

Sometimes I imagine how incredibly productive I could be if I focused on one and only one task at a time. Left my phone downstairs while I'm working, or just turned it face down on silent.  Prayed in the car, instead of checking my email at every light. I even listen to audio books on long drives now--I told my mom it's so I don't have to be alone with my thoughts. Ha. But what if we do? What if we all just leave ourselves alone with our thoughts for a while? Close the other tabs. Turn down the music. What would happen? Would our writing be better? Would we have more time for the people we love? Would we feel happier, and more fulfilled? I think it'd be worth a try, anyway.

One last thing. Back when I was doing all my pre-reqs in college, I had to take two torturous algebra classes. Had to. No choice. And as someone who has always been much more of a creative, writer type, these classes were extremely challenging for me, as all math classes always were. But the thing about math and numbers is that you are absolutely FORCED to concentrate (if you want an A, anyway). And I did want an A. So I studied harder than I'd ever studied for anything else in my life, because everything else came easily for me. But math--not math. I spent hours every night pouring over my homework, sometimes crying over it, but my brain was getting the most incredible workout of its life, and towards the end of my second semester of Algebra, which was the far more challenging one, I felt like my mind was razor sharp. I can't even really explain it, but it's an experience that I'd never had before. That razor sharpness translated into every other aspect of my life. It was awesome.

All that to say, I now feel the complete and utter opposite of sharp. I feel like a blunt object. The sword I once was versus the fat plastic baseball bat I am now.  And I don't like it. I want my brain back. I want to still be able to enjoy reading blog comments and participating in social media and sometimes check my email throughout the day, but I think I may have to come up with some ground rules for myself, and then keep them.

So now it's a quest, and you're welcome to join me. A quest to ditch the ADD, and sharpen up again. What if we were all more intentional with our time and even our thoughts?  What if we started each day by meditating and praying quietly with our coffee, instead of zombie-ing out over Instagram and Facebook for iPhone (or whatever your vices may be, at whatever time of day). I think positive change in the future starts simply by visualizing that change--seeing it vividly in your imagination. Focusing on it... focusing on something! Cutting out the proverbial fat.

We'll get there, people.

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