Too many interruptions in the day: Making uninterrupted time

Earlier in the week I had some chances to work for long stretches of time, where I had nothing scheduled for the day, and I could just wake up, do a block of work, eat breakfast, do a block of work, exercise, have lunch, do a block of work, have dinner do a block of work, go to sleep.
Now there’s a schedule for a day.
I had these four blocks of uninterrupted work, and I was able to get a lot done.
And then I compare that to today, when there is one little thing after another, things scheduling, things mix and match, little bit of this, little bit of that, and I really see the difference that it makes, and the real advantage that I have on those days when I can just do one thing.
And part of it is just scheduling out the time, blocking out the time, so that I have this set piece of time available.
And then it’s also what I do during that time, focusing on one project, working on one thing, and that’s certainly not always easy to do.
I mean, the first step is getting the block.
So you clear the schedule.
You don’t have all these other things popping up, appointments that you have to get to here and there all day.
That’s the first step.
The second step is, when you have that block of time, to then dive into one specific thing, and just go into it.
I mean, if you really look at my average day, it seems like such a simple thing, yet most days are not like that.
Most days, there is a little bit of this, little bit of that, mix and match, so many little things going on.
And it goes back to one of these recurring themes that I will keep talking about.
It just seems that so much of life is just about making things simpler.
We’re trying to do too much.
There’s too much overload.
Input information overload, overload and what’s in our heads circling around, overload in what we’re trying to do, filling the day with so many different activities.
And that’s just with the activities we consciously design, and then there’s all these kind of automatic things that just steal away our time.
It’s always been a possibility, but it’s really especially now, in the recent years, with the technology we have, with the internet, with our phones, getting notifications, scrolling through feeds, the ability to be distracted has never been anywhere near as strong as it is now.
Of course, let’s say, a few decades ago, okay, you could get phone calls.
But imagine getting as many phone calls as you get notifications.
And imagine even before then, you know, somebody would have to send you a letter or visit you if they wanted to send you a notification.
And of course, we look at one notification, and it’s fun.
You know, it’s fun to get that little pop-up letting us know that, you know, somebody’s thinking about us, we got a message, isn’t that nice? But then we add them all up, and our day is just being chopped up into pieces.
I already feel that there’s that attention chop-up already just by having to stop for, oh, you have to stop to eat now, you have to stop to sleep now.
Those are the big interruptions that we are demanded to accept.
It’s like our body giving us notifications.
Ding: notification: you are hungry now.
Time to eat.
Ding: notification: you are sleepy now.
Time to sleep.
So those are the minimum notifications that we can get.
But then we just chop up the day with so many other little interruptions.
So it’s either getting a notification that changes our train of thought, anything that changes the track of thinking, moving on to a new activity, having a bunch of little activities scheduled up through the day.
We can feel busy reading lots of information, so we feel informed, and yet a lot of this is adding clutter to our time, and just slicing up our available attention into tiny little pieces, so that we can feel busy all day and yet the end result seems to be, rather than moving ourselves forward in a big step so we can look back at the day and say, yeah, I can see how I’m in a new place now.
I have been moved to a new spot by all the work I did on this project today.
Instead, it’s often like I did a whole bunch of little work on a whole bunch of little things, so that our energies are scattered.
And again, so much comes down to that: the clutter and the scattering of energy.
So we are overloaded, and our energies are just scattered out in so many directions.
So I could go on whole separate diatribes about how to reduce this kind of clutter, and all the different kinds of clutter, but for this message, what I’m really noticing this week is the power of having a block of uninterrupted time.
Once the ball gets rolling, I really get into it, and I’m really absorbed in the activity, get into the flow.
So this seems to be a big part of making work fun and effective, is getting into this flow state, and it all starts with being able to dive in with full attention and no interruptions.

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