The number of times I've written about focus on this blog is telling. Every now and then I show up and say, "Eureka! I've solved my problem of focus! Watch out! Here I come!"
And then I get distracted.
But in the background, I am consistently making permanent habit changes. Regardless of how "Productivity for the win!" I get, it is the simple, deep seated changes that propel me forward. Even if merely by inches at a time.
Habits like compartmentalizing my time online. As Amy Whitley referred to my approach, "firewalls of the mental sort."
I recently chatted up the women at the new Power Down podcast on just this topic.
Heather King of The Extraordinary Ordinary and Amy Whitley of Never-True Tales invited me to join them as their first guest to discuss the value of unplugging and, as was my focus for our discussion, how to create and maintain boundaries between our professional and personal lives.
In advance of my BlissDom writing workshop in Dallas this March (more on that next week), they were particularly interested in how I handle boundaries within my work. It's one thing to know to unplug and focus on your family (the ongoing subject of their podcast series), but it's a different challenge to compartmentalize your attention while you are working online.
As I write this, it is a struggle not to open my Gmail in another tab. The Pinterest button in my bookmark bar keeps calling to me every time I move to look up a link.
That is precisely what we talked about: Tips to help you maintain focus during your writing process and while you are connected online, as well as how to protect your time offline.
I realize that taking a break from social media is a bit of a fad right now. When I first proposed the idea for my BlissDom session, I had seen very few people warm to the idea of a more regimented compartmentalization of our time spent online. Now? Apparently it's a thing.
My friend Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential wrote about #FacebookBreak yesterday. I hadn't heard of it but the fact that there's a hashtag makes me want to take a nap.
People are realizing the need to take breaks from the constant intake of social media for a variety of reasons, but I strongly suggest that you take a longer term view.
That BlissDom session? The title is Uninterrupted Thought: How to Wield the Power of Focus. It won't be about how to take a break and brand it to your topical advantage. It won't be about being cool and on top of trends.
It will be about flourishing.
I still want "furious furious beautiful enthralling art. With no commas."
Boundaries beget focus.
Download the Power Down podcast (I am in episode 002) and then let me know what you think. For the moment, you can visit the SITS Girls Power Down page and listen to my episode right there on the site. (That will change with the next episode, though.)
Not sure how to download or subscribe to podcasts? Amy wrote an excellent post about What is a Podcast? How Do You Tune In? that walks you right through the easy process.
Episode 3 will feature Ann Imig! I fell a lot in love with Ann a few years ago at Creative Alliance in Ojai, California. It was my first time meeting her and I... can't even finish this sentence. I adore her. I wish fewer people adored her, though, because I need her attention to be less divided.
Ahem. Power down and look at me. I'm a kid trying to get his mom's attention.
It's a good podcast series. We need to talk about the effects of our attention being so divided all the time in a realistic way. I'm looking forward to Ann's episode and hope you find your thoughts provoked while listening to mine.
Thank you again, Amy and Heather and SITS Girls, for letting me thrash around a bit in your airwaves.
What are your tips for powering down? Thoughts after listening to the podcast?
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