The other day I was trying to get a close-up picture of something in my hand. The trouble was that my phone thought that the background looked more interesting than what I was holding so it was focusing on the background.
I had to move around a few times until I finally had just a plain boring floor behind the object. It was only then that my phone apparently gave up and focused on what was in my hand. To my phone’s credit, when it focused on the right thing, it took a really good, detailed picture.
As I was standing there wrestling (and honestly having an intense conversation with my phone), it occurred to me that this same principle is so true of us as well.
There is the great concept out there of multitasking. Some people say it’s actually impossible because on a micro level our brains are actually just switching back and forth between tasks at a speed that makes it seem like we’re going multiple things at once when we really aren’t.
Then there are those that say that we shouldn’t multitask while others look for ways to maybe use technology to do more things at once and be as efficient as possible.
Bottom line is that when it comes to really being able to crank out good, valuable work… focus is the key. Especially if you are more on the ADHD side of things like yours truly.
It’s funny. Thoughts and ideas sometimes seem like fruit flies. When I’m not trying to focus on anything, they stay hidden. But as soon as I begin to focus, they come out of the woodwork and swarm my head like fruit flies drawn to an overripe banana.
And trying to focus on a task or email or design or concept when there are all of those other things mudding up your background is just like that camera that couldn’t stay trained on the main thing.
We need to be able to clear out that clutter before we can do our best work.
I wonder what that looks like for you. How do you clear out the background noise to be able to focus on the critical tasks?
For me, I try to “kill off” each of those fruit fly ideas by writing them down on a post-it or note pad or task app as quickly as I can and then knowing that I won’t forget them and can go back to what I’m working on at the moment.
Sometimes music can help me focus. But, at least for me, it depends on the task. If it involves writing, the music can’t have words… or I’ll get drawn right off the path again. But I have found that music can help my mind stay on track and somehow drown out the background.
I’m always looking for better ways to do things and would love your thoughts on this. You can find me on Instagram at @shawnwashburn7 and shoot me a message there or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day and stay focused!