A glass of water pushed me to reconsider how I am choosing to dedicate my focus.
I must admit I am surrounded by distractions. Checking my phone, opening bills, sneaking in some writing time, and answering questions from my daughter sometimes occurs in the same time period. My mind ping-pongs back and forth from one task to another and I realize that this behavior is a reflection of my restlessness. Until now, I haven’t considered the repercussions of my multitasking tendencies, but at the first of the year, the world yelled at me to stop, pause, and listen.
After my daughter is tucked into bed, I retreat to my office for some quiet time. In the two hours before I go to sleep, I will either read, write or journal at my desk. One particular Tuesday evening at the start of the year, as I sat down to write, I placed a glass of water on the corner of my desk on top of what I now realize was a set of unsteady, staggering set of books. Many of you maybe able to predict how the dominoes started to fall in this particular scenario.The glass toppled over and a few droplets of water landed on my keyboard. I grabbed a towel to soak up the water and, to be honest, I did not think too much of it, as I closed my computer and decided to go to bed.
The next morning I opened my computer and turned it on. Nothing happened on the first try. I pushed the start key again and still no response. On the fourth or fifth try, the computer started and I thought in my mind, “crisis averted.” When I started typing on the keys, I realized some of the letters did not work and then a slow rise of panic started to hit me. What if enough water had seeped into the keyboard to kill my computer? The more keys I pressed, the less it kept working. At that point, I knew I had to take into the store to get it evaluated. The succession of events that followed left me pondering for days. My computer’s hardware was shot. I had not backed up my latest version of my manuscript, nor a year’s set of pictures. Most of my personal and professional life lived on my computer. After some emotional outbursts and tears, I am lucky that I have a husband who understands my writing life. We found a place that could recover my data, but it came at a price.
I am typing this post on a new laptop because my other computer could not be salvaged. I realized that accidents can happen, but I blame this particular mishap on the distractions that fly in my life. The universe really started screaming at me when my daughter posed this question,”Can you go 24 hours without any technology?” The toppled water, her question and my angst begged me to question where is my focus and why do I feel the need to think and do a 100 things at once. Study after study, proves that multitasking is not an effective to way to live one’s life, either professionally or personally.
Because I started the year in this way, I’ve realized that I need to pay attention. Pick up my phone less. Do one thing at a time. Not check FB or Twitter while I am writing. Read without distractions. Answer my daughter’ s question with all of my attention, instead of say uh-uh, while I am half-glancing at some screen. Keep my desk clean with the task that is requiring my attention at the moment it is happening.
These changes will not occur overnight. But the distractions are keeping me from fully immersing myself in one particular endeavor.
It took an innocent glass of water to wake me up.
IMAGE VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS BY BFURNACE
Oh, man! This post definitely hits home. I need to stop multi-tasking myself, it gets me in trouble… big time! Crazy how something as simple as a glass of water could teach a life lesson, for me it’s a jar of Miracle Whip.
I’m excited to have you in my SITS tribe, can’t wait to get to know you better.
Sorry to hear about your laptop Rudri. It’s very daunting knowing your laptop won’t work because it goes beyond “data” – it’s memories, it’s your effort, it’s your writing, it’s part of your life attached to this piece of hardware. Your daughter is very observant to already be posing a question like that. It definitely makes you think about how we are perceived to our children when we’re constantly on the laptop or checking our phones. I try to limit that kind of activity when I’m around him since I never want him to feel as though these “things” have more demand on my attention than him. Enjoy the new laptop and hope you were able to retrieve the data! Take Care and as always beautifully written! -Iva
Hi! I’m in your SITS blogging tribe. Stopping by to introduce myself. Sorry to hear about your computer. I had to purchase a new one recently as well. I didn’t like the expense at the time but now that I’ve been using it for a few months I realize that it was time. My new computer fits my needs so much more than my old one.
Definitely sorry about your laptop! I’m from your SITS tribe. I definitely have a problem with distractions. I have to get better so I can be more productive.
I can’t tell you how close to home this post strikes with me. It’s pretty ridiculous how easily I can be distracted by social media. I always find that I never regret unplugging for a while, though. It can be hard to do, but worth it! Looking forward to connecting you with this week!
I am terrible about this too (the line about saying “uh huh” half-heartedly to my kid while glancing at the screen especially hit home!) I really shouldn’t wait until a disaster strikes to make this change to put proper focus on what is important in my life. I’m glad you were able to recover your laptop memory!
I’m sorry that happened to you. Interesting how life gets our attention and helps us prioritize! I just spent a lovely three day weekend with my mother. It was uninterrupted by technology and made me realize how much time I spend doing mundane unnecessary things. Once again, I’ve decided to reorganize my time.
You are a “glass half full” kind of woman, Rudri. I like that 🙂
I live in absolute DREAD of this happening. I am so guilty of the multitasking stuff, I’m working on cutting back on it, for sure. I think we do better at EVERYTHING when we’re focused only on that task!
Hi from your SITS tribe! 🙂
I need to be better about this too. Focus is easier said than done. I’m glad you could recover your files.
I’m so sorry to hear about your computer, Rudri. We all do this, don’t we? Your promise to pay full attention to your daughter instead of half staring at a screen really struck me in particular. I am always doing that – going “Uh huh…” and staring at my phone or laptop screen while my son is trying to talk to me. Lately he’s been getting more upset, crying, “You’re always daydreaming, Mommy!” It’s partly the downsides of a writer’s life, partly this technology-filled world we now live in. Thanks for sharing your story. I need to change as well.