"Multitasking is a myth." was the most tweeted phrase from my solo session at BlissDom, titled Uninterrupted Thought: Power of Focus. A point I anticipated being the most contentious turned out to resonate the loudest.
I spoke at BlissDom in late March, a conference I've written about frequently since 2008. I've spoken several times at BlissDom but this was my first opportunity to speak solo, not as part of a panel. The opportunity to dive deep into a thought with this audience I've come to know well, to shape the plot from inception to conclusion, was thoroughly fulfilling.
BlissDom has evolved over the years from a blogging conference to more of an entrepreneurial development event. This is exciting because, as speakers, we see fewer questions of "Why should I care about becoming a better writer? I do this for me!" and more head-down work toward developing a thriving connection with audiences.
And head-down work we did in my session. After the presentation and an absolute hammering of studies on multitasking (whew), we dove into a workshop period centered around worksheets I designed to challenge the attendees on their work habits. BlissDom initially tried this format last year while I was Content Director. And then my brain melted.
It's a challenging sell to persuade an audience to do work and I've attended plenty of sessions where the tables slid into idle chit chat instead of maintaining a focus on the session topic. When I stepped off the stage to weigh in on progress at the audience tables, I expected to see a lot of blank worksheets and planned to cut the workshop period short. I was wrong.
Did you attend my session? You people worked! Three pages of questions were filled by the time I made it to the center of the room and all of the discussions I overheard were more than on topic - they were intensive debates. If I could have let that session go on another hour, I would have. So. much. fun.
One of the questions I heard most often while moving through the room during the workshop was if the worksheets were part of a larger course. I laughed and shook my head the first couple of times I heard that inquiry and then started to frown in consternation by the time I began making my way back to the stage.
Y'all know how much I love to over-analyze, let's say, everything. The fact that this group enjoyed doing the same was an unanticipated thrill.
As a result of your interest (yay!), I've been invited to turn "Uninterrupted Thought" into a course. Not an e-book, but an interactive course. In another life, I was a teacher and I bet I loved it. Though I suspect I lost a lot of sleep worrying about my students before ultimately losing my life battling a dragon when my new-fangled armor turned out to be made of tin foil. What? Your past lives aren't medieval education-based and, um, dragon-ridden?
It's going to be a highly entertaining course. Ahem.
In the meantime, it's time to refocus. I opened that session with the earnest admission that I have not mastered what I was about to preach. No, I am deep in the trenches of learning how to build and maintain boundaries as an online writer. Particularly as I begin the process of moving my writing to print. And then I fainted.
Look, the reason my session may have resonated so well is because I'm not a master. I'm working on this with you. You and I? We're clad in tin foil and facing down dragons side by side, praying to Merlin that the beast doesn't notice the tears in our armor and see through our guise.
Battling distractions is a feat I attempt anew every day. Every single morning my brain screams at me to check email. My fingers itch to touch the Twitter app on my phone. I. just. want. to. check. one. thing.
That's what makes talking about it with you so delicious. My memories aren't stale. I'm in it, right now, testing new approaches and celebrating minor victories. My current victory? I only have three tabs open right now: my blog editor, my blog, and the dictionary (because did I use "guise" correctly?). I haven't checked my email this morning and I am sure it is full of pressing issues after a spring break determinedly absent of email.
I swear I can feel the pressure from not checking my email at the forefront of my brain. But I wanted to talk with you first. I've been writing little posts to you in my head ever since BlissDom and I couldn't contain it any longer.
For every one of you that have emailed or written incredibly lovely things about my session, and especially those of you that have recorded your own progress, thank you. I've been deliberately offline for the most part since leaving Dallas (boundaries constructed by an introvert who rebounded by entering a family-centric cave of spring break) and plan to hunt each of you down today so I can finally respond.
Be sure to subscribe to my infrequent but lovely newsletter (which is really just an email subscription of this blog so you don't have to keep checking for updates) as I am building a resource page citing some of the tools, podcasts, and other resources mentioned in the session. The newsletter is the best way to ensure you don't miss it (or the course announcement) when it's ready.
Were you at BlissDom? Did you have a chance to attend my session on focus? I'd love to hear what you thought (leave links if you wrote about it!) and if you've been working on any of the ideas I proposed.
Have questions? Struggling with any points? Suggestions for what you'd like to see in the course (regardless of whether or not you attended the session)? Just want to say hey? I'd love to hear from you.
Follow my Focus Pinterest board for fun little sparks of encouragement.