Focus and Attention

It used to be on a Sunday afternoon, I had choices about how I could spend my time. I could either spend the time bonding with my family or I could spend time doing a household chore or I could spend the time preparing for my job. But in the last few years, with the explosion of learning opportunities, from online webcasts, online conferences, online courses, and edcamps, there is now a fourth set of activities that are vying for my attention.

But as Howard Rheingold notes in Net Smart, these new choices will now “drive us to distraction or augment and broaden our minds.” Now, in addition to determining how to spend my time, I need to continue to develop the skills to tune out the distractions and focus on the task that I am working on.

At school, it is difficult to find the time to devote to focused deep work. The nature of the position is such that I need to make myself available to students, teachers, and administrators to be able to help them during the moment of their immediate need. As noted at home, there are the demands of family and home. But a tension always exists that there is something else that I could be learning, another group I could be connecting with, or another conversation to join.

One needs to remember that it is impossible to do everything. One has to make choices and remember to focus on the local, family first, work and colleagues second, and online third. If there is something important, it will be waiting for you and you can catch up and become involved.

One thought on “Focus and Attention

  1. Vinny,

    Good post.

    I learned the hard way that none of us is as indispensable to our workplaces as we would like to imagine. If we focus on that which will endure, we will always be making the right choices, and that always comes down to how we treat the people closest to us. One tweet more or less is not going to be what we are remembered for.

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