Friday, June 12, 2009

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Why I'm Not One of 'Em

It's Friday again - that means another day of reckoning on the 20 Hr. Challenge. This week I put in 14.75 hours. The previous week was 15.25 hours. Before that, 15 hours even (if counting the whole week, although the official challenge started on Tuesday, whatever...) And I have come to realize several things. Well, two.

Number one: I have a problem with my attention span. I will blame it on the internet, thank you. I can read email, check the weather, check Facebook, post to the blog, and Twitter all at once. But I have so trained myself to multitask that I'm finding it very difficult to focus my attention on a single thing for any length of time. In the spirit of full disclosure, exceptional focus was never high on the list of my skill set. But interestingly enough, another reason I think the split focus of internet activity fits me so well is motherhood.

When my kids were young, I could wash dishes, do laundry, talk on the phone, repair ripped clothing and never lose track of where my kids were and what they were doing. I had to. That ability developed gradually as we added to our family and the kids reached the age of mobility. Now my youngest is 19 and I no longer need to function that way, but it has become a deeply ingrained habit. Which brings me to number two: habit.

For this 20 Hour Challenge I have been keeping track of my time carefully. The blocks of time logged in rarely exceed 1.5 hours. I might log 3 or 4 such blocks in a day, but 1 - 1.5 hours seems to be my comfort zone. I know that there is a great deal more time available during any given week for me to be spending in the studio. So it seems to me that I have two choices - readjust my goals to around 15 hours, or work on my habits to increase the time I can spend on my art. I think I'll work on my habits - right after I check my email.

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