Two days ago the random thought came to me in the midst of my job “Is what you are doing critical to the task at hand?”
I have the rather dubious pleasure of becoming easily bored, and thus easily distracted. It never helps, of course, when things I am working on are not the most exciting in the world (like, for example, record review). I can sustain the effort for a while, and then my mind starts looking for other things to keep its interest.
But there was the question: “Is what you are doing critical to the task at hand?”
“Well of course not” I responded (to myself). “Following up on something more interesting has little to do with what I am actually doing.”
“Then why are you doing it?” came the response.
All of a sudden my mind started working in high gear, looking at my tendency to let myself get distracted from what I was currently doing. If I was honest, what I always distracted myself with was of lesser value than the item I was originally doing. Why is that, I wonder? And more importantly, how do I stop it?
So yesterday I took one step forward. I worked on what I was working on. If a thought wandered into my mind, boredom trying to get me to turn my head, I either politely ignored it or wrote it down on a piece of paper.
I do not know that I made a fantastic amount of progress. What I do know is that I got the task done more quickly than in my usual fashion. Which then caused me to have the thought of looking around at my life and realizing that I am often too distracted by what I should be doing with lesser things.
Call it focus. Call it attention to the task at hand. Call it not giving your lesser side quarter. Whatever it is, it made a difference.
Focus on the critical. First things first.