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Monday, September 25, 2017

The Interruption

In time some things become habits, like my morning routine.
Wake up, take a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and eat my breakfast.
Then the routine varies a bit each day but if there is nothing special scheduled for the day it usually involves starting up my laptop.

For me growing up before the computer revolution is still funny how much we have become tied to our electronic devices. My phone has become almost a part of my body. Wherever I go the phone is almost always with me. I love it and hate it at the same time.

A few minutes later the computer screen lights up and on my desktop among a couple dozen icons a bunch of colored sticky notes pop up.
The sticky notes are the first line of defense in my organizational strategy. They are easy to write, easy to read a very convenient way to remind me of the tasks at hand.

Of course, I have a more elaborate “to do list” that encompasses long-term goals but for the day to day business I find the little sticky notes to be most suitable.
It also gives me a good feeling of accomplishment whenever I complete a chore and trash the little sticky note.
Not the case with my “to do list” which is growing permanently and it looks it is here to stay forever.

First sticky notes informs me I have to write another blog article for tomorrow, fix the cabinet door in the kitchen and clean the garage. The cabinet door is an easy one since I fixed the door already and I just have to put it back in the kitchen. So I go to do that first.

Back to my computer. Time to write my article.
I want to be something inspirational, something profound or at least something useful.
Nothing comes to mind. I’ll go check my emails and social media instead.
Nothing there as usual. It is just a waste of time but you have to do it just in case there is an important email or vital piece of information you cannot afford to miss.  But I think I got an idea for my article.

I will write an article about Donald Trump, on how he is actually a product of our society, a symptom of our social moral decay just like Germany between the two world wars.
Time to check the Google for some historical references.

The phone rings. Some insurance guy wants to “save me money”. I told him if he is so concerned about my wellbeing just to write me a check. The discussion goes nowhere. He doesn’t listen to me and I’m not interested in buying his insurance. Back to my computer.

I’m in the middle of my creative storm when my dogs rush in the room and start making begging noises and wildly waving their tails. What the heck I fed them already!
I look at the clock is 10am already.  Time flies when you are on the net.
Reluctantly I get up and take the dogs for their morning walk.

Back to my computer.
I have done nothing all day, well, except that productive 5 min when I screwed the cabinet door back in its place,
I’m trying to write but I keep being interrupted.
Between my wife, kids, pets, friends and all sorts of people that want to help me with things I did not need help with I managed to pile up a bunch of cut and paste fragments of articles that don’t look anything like a blog.
On top of that is noon and my stomach is making “feed me now!” noises.
Alright I’ll stop and I’m going out for lunch, and I’m not going to take my phone with me!

Guess what. I did take the phone with me but at least I left it in my car during the lunch and just enjoyed other people having lunch with their phones.
Waiting for my food to come I realized a couple of things.

One: My life is been disrupted from its normal flow by a series of unwanted interruptions.
Two: The number of interruptions in my life has grown and continues to grow exponentially.
Three: Some of the interruptions, like Mr. Trump, are easy to avoid. You just turn off the TV.
Four: some interruptions are hard to avoid, like spending time on the X Box or binging for hours on Netflix.
Five: If I want my productivity to go up and have more control of my life I need to find an effective way to deal with my interruptions.

No problem! I’m really good at solving problems.
First step: Awareness, defining the problem.
I’ll start by making a list of all the incidents in my life when I get interrupted.


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