Attention split

Yesterday I wrote about family, health, and hobbies as a way to divide up your attention. I recently read an interesting article on priorities. It is slightly expanded compared to yesterdays approach, so here’s a more detailed way to divide up your time:

  • Work
  • Education
  • Religion/Spirit
  • Exercise
  • Recreation
  • Family

It is revealing to apply these categories to my life.

Work is work (very clearly defined). I am either working delivering reports for money, or helping to organise the broader company with my role as operations officer. It is clear what needs to be done and who the clients are (internal and external). This could take up my whole day if I wanted it to.

Education happens for me through reading and listening to podcasts. It is not happening in a formal way (degrees or courses) and i think this is becoming the new norm for many people. I seem to focus in on a few categories – finance, marketing, technology and psychology. These are broad categories and i perhaps spend too much time noodling around on the internet. At its best, my time spent here is educational. At its worst it is a swamp which i need to escape from. Again, it is easy to spend hours on this category.

Religion/Sprituality has become interesting to me only recently. I believe this category ties in with psychology as there is a fundamental religious drive or instinct which humans have. I am also interested in the behavioural impact of ritual, community, setting high goals and understanding hierarchies around you. I have only recently seen the benefits of religion for those around me. Otherwise my life has, to date, been pretty much wilfully ignorant of religion. This category mixes often with education for me. It might one day be good to separate it out as its own category to manage.

Exercise in my life is what you call a complete shamozzle. Non-existent. Pathetic. In need of attention. I tend to blame the other components of my life and claim there is no time. But I definitely have 45 minutes a day to fit some exercise in. This category has historically been tied up with the ‘Recreation’ category as i used to gain good exercise from social and enjoyable hobbies such as team sports or squash. However, co-ordinating recreation and socialising with exercise seems a step too far for me at the moment. It is probably useful to tackle them separately for now.

Recreation for me would include socialising, music and sports i enjoy. I have very little of this in my life at the moment. But there is enough through social media, work and family to get me through for now, while our kids are so young and in need of attention. However one day this bird is going to have to spread its wings again and become social and more self-serving with the hobbies! Drumming, squash, golf, cricket, rugby, bike riding, podcasting and listening to music. Oh the joys that await.

Family has become almost everything for me. So much so that it scared me and forced me to write posts such as this one to figure out what is going on. We have a big family which needs a lot of attention at the moment. I love them very much. I find balance a hard thing to manage when you love something that much.