First chain picture

Links in sunshine

The main reason why I take pictures is to teach myself to look at the world in a different way, and one of the games that's fun to play to help with that is to study a particular common object. And I like the look of chain. See the new gallery introduction for more of the explanation. I finally got up to one of those pictures. There are several more coming.

I think I realized something interesting about my concentration today. I've known for a while that I tend towards multitasking too much. I turn on the TV or turn on music, start too many things at the same time, or flip between windows rather than focusing on what I'm doing, but I have a hard time not turning on the extra inputs. Yesterday, though, I noticed that while I was at the computer and working, I wasn't thinking about the TV or considering turning it on. But as soon as I got up to get something to eat, I immediately thought "hm, it would be nice to have the TV on in the background."

I've been reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow (about which quite a bit more later), and one of his basic points is that the brain can only process a certain number of inputs. One enters a state of flow when all or nearly all of that processing is focused on what one is doing rather than on other distractions. When I was sitting at the computer working, I was focused and using all of my brain's inputs. As soon as I got up to do something much less demanding (make food), I think my brain suddenly felt bored and started seeking additional inputs.

If I'm right about this, it's a very useful discovery. It means that I can adjust for this effect and decide to turn on other inputs only when I'm feeling bored or restless while engaged in whatever my primary task is at the moment. If I take momentary breaks, my desire for extra inputs during the breaks shouldn't count; I should just wait until I can get back to what I'm doing.

I experimented with this some today and it seems to work. It's rare that a discovery about time or attention management is quite this straightforward and practical. I'm quite pleased.

Posted: 2009-02-03 22:15 — Why no comments?

Last spun 2022-02-06 from thread modified 2013-01-04