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  • Writer's pictureRachael King

Attention Issues: Part 2

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

In my previous post, I discussed a new system to help me be more productive and overcome my attention issues. This post will look at the process and how it went!

Part 2 - The Test and Outcomes

It was a typical content creation day with lots on my to-do list. I was prepared and had a large stack of sticky notes, a pen, and my phone timer ready for my new system. At 9 am sharp, I started the timer and began creating. Within a minute, several thoughts raced into my awareness. I paused, wrote them on my sticky notes, and immediately returned to work. This happened every 30 seconds, and I wrote them down each time. As for staying on task, I noticed immediately that writing down my excess thoughts helped. I did find myself repeatedly glancing at the timer, and after 5 minutes, I wanted to get up. I took a deep breath, turned my phone over, and got back on task, knowing the timer would chime when the 10 minutes were up.

When the timer chimed, I moved my hands from the keyboard, reset the timer for 5 minutes, got up, took a drink of water, walked around my office, and glanced at the multiple sticky notes that had writing on them. I resisted a strong urge to go through them. I sat down, flipped to tik tok, watched a video, and the timer chimed to let me know it was time to get back to work.

I repeated this cycle until lunch, with added bathroom breaks, social media, texts, and snacks in the 5-minute rest periods. By lunch, I had completed my morning writing and decided the rules and system might be a solution.

I continued this pattern throughout the day. There were several 10-minute periods in that I struggled a lot with staying on task, and in one of those periods, I quit at 7 minutes. I noticed I was more tired than usual and ready for the day to be done towards the end of the day.

As for the sticky notes, I was surprised by what I had written down. I had accumulated about 20 stickies. The notes ranged from new project ideas, things I had forgotten, upcoming stuff I needed to do, grocery items, snippets of songs, and some illegible words. The ideas were pretty good, and I added them to my ongoing future project notebook. I passed on my grocery lists to my husband, made new to-do lists with stuff I had missed or was upcoming, and laughed at my inability to read my handwriting. Once I transferred all this information to the appropriate place, I threw the stickies away. It was pretty satisfying.

I went home that night feeling accomplished, organized, and sane for the first time in a long time. I slept like a log that night.

Since that first day six months ago, I have increased my on-task time to 15 minutes with 3-minute breaks. I still produce many stickies each day, with some days being more fruitful than others, and I have settled into this system to help tame my runaway mind.

There have, however, been a few critical changes to my system, and I have learned some important lessons along the way. Check out the final post in this series, Lessons Learned.

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