out of focus– even in sleep

Another poor night of sleep. It has partly to do with the noise of the outside world, but something else as well; perhaps with stress and the sensation of being overextended and overwhelmed. We tossed and turned like waves on a sea with blood in its eyes.

I’ve just read an article regarding a recent book about distractions and our growing (collective) inability to focus on any one thing for extended periods. While it did not shed any light on how to correct this response (aside from sheer willpower), it made me feel slightly less confounded by the phenomenon; reminded me that I’m not the only one for whom “a Herculean effort” is sometimes required to focus on things you want to do.

We feel constantly pulled in many directions, which makes it difficult to tackle things one at a time and give them their due. For my part, I rely on deadlines. As a freelancer, the onus of time and project management is on me alone, but once a deadline has been set, I make sure I can meet it (no client left behind!). More difficult is the application of those management skills to personal priorities– health, happiness, dreams and goals become the ill-treated and oft-neglected stepchildren. The prioritizing of work over life is nothing new, of course, (what good is an ability to focus if you lose the roof over your head, after all?), but it can’t be denied that the never-ending flood of pings coming at us is a major factor nowadays– that’s what’s new. The stepchildren in my life currently include my paintings, the editing of my book, correspondence with family, cleaning the apartment, eating properly, exercise… to the point that I often find myself putting them on my lists of work to-dos (albeit at the bottom)!

How many times have I convinced myself that I don’t have time to go for a walk, or work on a painting– yet I ‘have time’ somehow to fretter away reading articles and blogs or looking at web sites that don’t necessarily add anything to my work or to my life– I lament the days when I could so easily get lost in whatever I was working on. It’s a battle of the will– one that I’m losing right now, by blogging. So here’s where my missive ends. I’m off to focus on… something!

(* I’m experimenting with the use of bold, but I don’t know that I like the effect.)

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