Thursday, April 11, 2013

Random Thoughts on the Art of Staying Focused

…as my ability to focus diminishes over time

People tell stories of walking into a room and immediately forgetting why he or she entered the room. That occasionally happens to me, but I am experiencing a different but probably related phenomenon.

I am in one space, working or reading or writing, and march into another room to grab something – a book, the laundry, my phone – or do something, such as get a cup of coffee, make the bed, or empty the dishwasher.

I arrive at my intended destination and begin doing something totally unrelated to my original intention.  For instance, I just returned from my bedroom. I went in to retrieve a couple of pictures. Instead I headed directly for the bathroom and put on make up.

It is the middle of the day, but I had not gotten around to that task earlier. Later this afternoon I am heading out and will be in the presence of other people, so applying some makeup was a desirable mission. After my exercise class this morning I came home, showered, but never quite finished getting myself together for the rest of the day.

Until now. When finished I walked into the kitchen and suddenly realized why I went into the bedroom in the first place.

Call it whatever you want. Unfocused. Senseless. Forgetful. Unattentiveness (or is it inattentiveness?).

On the way to accomplish one task, I successfully complete another. That is not all bad, but does get disconcerting.

I have no idea what this behavior means. I guess one way to avoid it is to reduce activity involving mobility; get settled after breakfast and not move until lunchtime. Not very practical.

I must attempt to stay focused.

I could make a to-do list. I am very good at deciding to make a list and beginning a list. But then I lose the list. Or forget I started one. Or begin another. Suddenly I have several pieces of paper with a couple of to-dos written on each one. Once more confusion reigns.

I could create the list on my iPhone, but do not yet know how to do that. And I am not in the habit of carrying my iPhone around with me all day, like so many members of the younger generations. When home I usually place my phone on the kitchen counter and leave it there. It remains there for hours, undisturbed, unless it rings. I might not hear it if I am in another part of the house, but I can always call someone back. That is what we did in the good old days.

Uh oh. Now I am really feeling old and outdated, talking about the good old days. They may not have been so good. And, relatively speaking, they may not have occurred so long ago. I am out of touch with the rest of the fast-paced, fast-moving, tech-focused world.

And that brings me right back to my problem. Focus. A lot of the time I am not.


The doorbell is ringing. Actually it is my phone, which happens to sound like a doorbell. We do not have a doorbell.

I should answer it.

I will get back to this conundrum momentarily. Maybe. If I remember. If I get focused. And stay focused.

Answer the phone. Wait, it stopped ringing.

So what am I going to make for dinner?...