Last week I read a great piece about the magic of doing one thing at a time by HBR blog contributor Tony Schwartz.
This morning a link to this same post appeared in my LinkedIn feed as I was doing a number of things simultaneously. In no particular order: responding to emails, checking Twitter, answering a few phone calls, making breakfast/getting my son ready for school, and writing out a few thoughts for this post.
Okay, maybe 4 or 5 things—but who’s counting?
Much has been written lately of the time suck of social media and the Web as a whole contributing to the fragmentation of our thoughts. Quick check: How many browser tabs do you have open at this very moment? Checking Facebook and responding to emails while on the on the phone? Many of us do this and whole lot more every day without even thinking twice.
Not surprisingly the Web is encouraging our brains to be less linear and more hyper-active/multitasking oriented. In fact you could liken our tendency to jump around from hyperlink to hyperlink, browser tab to tab, text message to email to Facebook and so on, as a form of self directed content filtering in which we’re mentally prioritizing and absorbing small chunks of information.
A recent post (definitely worth a read) written by Adi Gaskell touches on the subject of curation, which apparently was a wide topic of discussion at this year’s SXSW conference. But the notion of idea curation is particularly interesting. Adi suggests this is essentially how we process and filter our ideas so we reject the duffers and keep the winners.
In other words, idea curation could be seen as our brains unconsciously telling us where and when to focus our attention by filtering out what’s important and what should be deleted or sent to the trash bin.
So, as Adi suggests, here’s what we could try doing next as a technique for curating our ideas at any given moment:
“Take some time to towel off, maybe put the kettle on and take your mind off of your idea to let your mind mull it over in the background.”
- Take a break
- Do something you enjoy
- Come back to your idea in the cold light of day
(Photo by romanlily)