Attention Log

Popular_Social_Networks,_Gavin_Llewellyn,_CC

Date: Thursday, October 9th 6:32

Location/position/device: I was sitting on my couch, with my laptop on my lap.

Time: 25 minutes

What I was doing: I was trying to type a paper for a class, but I was also continuously opening up Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. I found myself rotating between the pages at fairly regular intervals (though not as much as I would without trying to monitor myself).

How I felt: Wow. I have got to get this stuff done. When I was looking at something I found to be interesting, I had to force myself to take deeper breaths. I’ve never paid attention to my breathing while online, but it’s unsettling to know that I’m taking less oxygen in. I wasn’t particularly motivated to complete my homework. Instead, I wasted minutes scrolling through social media. Mostly, I was feeling really lazy.

What worked/didn’t work: Thinking about tracking my time online forced me to stay on task. However, I found myself scrolling, looking at photos, and clicking through links that kept me completely off track.

Additional Comments: I need to keep my phone away from myself. Reeeaaally really need to.

Date: Thursday, October 9th 8:30

Location/position/device: At my table, upright. My laptop was in hand.

What I was doing: Back to the paper for class. This time I was a little more dedicated to actually completing my assignment. I was focused on not allowing myself onto social media sites. I only let my mind wander when I felt it would be a good time for a break.

How I felt: I was sitting upright, so it was much easier to regulate my breathing. I was definitely a little more focused for this round of homework. My phone was purposely left on the couch. Even though I was very tempted to walk over and grab it, I faught the urge. I left this session feeling more accomplished.

What worked/didn’t work: One thing that was really effective was distancing myself from my phone. My distractions were cut in half by that small step. Sitting at a table forced me to feel more awake and willing to work. Relaxing, while nice, often leaves me feeling unmotivated and lazy.

Additional Comments: Goodbye to the cell phone.

Being self-aware forced myself into noticing what I was actually doing. For instance, I have never noticed that my breathing changes online. I have also never really tracked all of the bunny-trails I follow online. I know that I do get off track, but actually following my path was pretty eye-opening. While I was distracted with social media, I learned that I really do have low self-control when it comes to the Internet… and my cell phone.

For the amount of time I spent online, I actually accomplished very little. I scrolled through many status updates and photos, but I only actually typed up a couple of paragraphs for my homework.

The biggest thing I learned was that I need to force myself to be uncomfortable. When I’m at a table, I’m not in a place that I correlate with relaxing. I feel like I’m already obligated to do my work. When I’m on my couch or laying in my bed, I’m at a place of unwinding (not conducive to productivity).

The attention log showed me I need to improve my time management skills, and that I truly need to plan out my technology time.

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4 responses to “Attention Log

  1. I like your point about being uncomfortable correlating with how much you get done. If I relax while I do my homework then I want to take a nap or do something relaxing, not homework.

  2. Thanks for your additional comments section of this post. I never really realized that I am usually in my winding down places when I am the most distracted. Even though I logged the places I was I never really thought that much about it. I think I too need to “make myself uncomfortable” when I need to do my homework. I really appreciate your comments after the log!

    • Thank you! Being comfortable is my biggest problem! I’m really focusing on how I’m sitting and studying. It’s crazy how small fixes like that can really change your productivity.

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