I mean, everyone suffers interruptions of some kind. But not everyone has difficulty getting their work done. My sister is a good example. I firmly believe that she could warm up her breakfast, have a conversation with a coworker and an e-mail conversation with me, and still manage to whip out a couple of spreadsheets. In fact, I’ve seen her do it!
Although I’ve often joked that I have adult ADD, I’m beginning to believe it’s true. It’s not the interruptions that are keeping me from my work; it’s the distractions that I create or get involved in so that I don’t have to do my work.
My attention span for any one thing is about 20 minutes. Once I start to get antsy, I don’t actually leave my office, but I look around to see who’s walking by; I check my e-mail; I get an update on the day’s news; and then I get a few real-live interruptions. The next thing I know, it’s time to eat my lunch!
I recently watched a show on CNN called Fat Chance (great title). It was about how many people lose weight, but how few people manage to keep it off.
As a card-carrying member of the yo-yo club (I could practically be its leader), I was very interested in this topic. Apparently permanent weight loss is such a rare phenomenon that a couple of guys in Colorado keep a registry of people who’ve lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off.
I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with my inability to focus on my work, but hang with me for just a minute longer. I haven’t actually lost my focus — yet.
One of the common denominators of the two people who were profiled was their routine. For almost 10 years, these people (after losing their weight) have done practically the same thing every day: They get up and eat breakfast, work out for an hour, read nutrition labels, fix healthy meals, and look after their kids — every single day. I’m lucky if I make it to the office every day. And if not for a boss and a paycheck, I probably wouldn’t.
So my point is focus. Some people have it, some people don’t, and some people manage to achieve it. Although I’m firmly in the second group, I am striving to be in the third.
If you’re impressed by now that we manage to get a magazine out every two weeks, don’t thank me. It happens because of the awesome people I work with and whom I count on to distract me.
So settle in and focus on the great issue we’ve (okay, they’ve) put together for you.
SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS