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Paul Ford: Distraction commentary on NPR's "All Things Considered"

NPR : Distracted No More: Going Back to Basics

Paul Ford's guest post from last month evolved into an excellent commentary on tonight's All Things Considered. Go Paul.

Distracted No More: Going Back to Basics

by Paul Ford

Commentator Paul Ford has a solution for avoiding the endless distractions a computer provides.

You can listen to it on the NPR site.

Ed Furlong's picture

Folks: I think Peter Ford is...


I think Peter Ford is on to something here, regardless of whether you think it is a computing addict's coping mechanism, dispute the utility of DOS, or feel it doesn't apply to you because of personal self discipline. Truth is, it applies to more of us (myself included) than we might care to admit. Many of us, particularly those who remember when Paul McCartney was in a group before wings, and computers occupied rooms, not deskspace, developed our work and learning approach in a much less intrusive, single-task oriented productivity culture. Your biggest intrusion was the phone, and if you were not at your desk, it also wasn't a problem. I truthfully believe that focused, single-topic tasks can result in some of my (and quite likely your) best work because we can put all the resources of our best processor, our brain, on that one task. Peter Ford simply advocates for one means for doing that. There are lots of other means, and I don't want to get into a catfight over whether folks work better in a multi-tasked, background-busy environment, some do--my kids for example (or at least they believe it to be so)--and some don't. I just know that I have been slowly backing down from multiple devices and trying to focus on single projects at a time, including focused periods of email work, then task 2, then 3, etc. (identified using the David Allen GTD approach), and it works for an old guy like me. I also have an earlier, version of the alphasmart, the 3000, and it has it's place in my arsenal of useful tools. I use a paper planner as a sole source of organization, and all my tools--laptop, alphasmart, logitech IO digital pen--are subservient to it. Ford has found one way to do this, and it may or may not work for you, but let's not disparage personal success--we are all busy enough that we should celebrate and share when we find something that works for us.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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