In an achievement framework, we speak of defining results and designing programs to achieve them. In these times, it is just as hard, however, to stick to results as to anything else.
Gloria Mark points out the challenge in her new book Attention Span: A groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness, and Productivity. She has found that people spend an average of 47 seconds on any screen. We are nomadic while sitting still.
Mark’s first guidance is her most insightful for me: become more intentional in your clicking. The question is, intentional to what? We need a reason or purpose that guides what we see and hear. Otherwise, the default will be to consume more page views and await inspiration. Without an end in mind, new screens, ideas, and people provide the illusion of progress. More likely this is drifting.
Sticking long enough to reflect on what we see and hear is tough with the deluge of new experiences just a click away. At least in my case, this takes me surfing more than diving. As with the TV remote, I slip forward awaiting something to catch my eye. I am guided by distraction.
A false flag arises when we respond to stimuli. We are busy, busy answering our emails and commenting on social media posts and attachments. I now have a clear structure—answering requests. This rarely coincides with what I need to advance my own results. I get to purpose not by intending to do something but by intending to achieve something.
The point is not to admonish yourself to slow down. It is to have a reason to do so.