Beeps, alerts and chimes, what’s on your menu? | Life Series

Twice a year, my family treats ourselves with ‘All You Can Eat Sushi.’ The tradition has been to have a very light breakfast to make room for the boatload of food for lunch, and dinner is usually skipped.
Read time: about 2 1/2 min.

It is considered a treat, and because we pay a premium per head, we feel entitled to the gorge. We also get a let that day from the sins of gluttony. Orders get placed non-stop one after another, filling our plates with carbs, starch, protein, fat, salt, sugar, more sugar and more carbs. A very health-conscious family otherwise, throws every dietary caution out of the window on those days. This assumingly justified binge eating escapes all rationale because of the menu spread available to us. It’s there, and we have paid for it, so why not?

Our ancestral nature to horde kicks in every time we believe (or persuaded) the available opportunity won’t last forever or when things are available for free. No wonder we stack-up more food at a buffet or find ourselves in the long line-up outside big box stores during Black Fridays and Boxing days.

I will skip the dishes and jump right to the point I am trying to make here.

Similar to the buffet of food that lasts only an hour or so, we are offered a vast spread of invasive networking apps to binge all day. Because almost all of them are for free, we get lured into this inescapable net. From the instant Facebook notification, recommended deals of the day, snap and chat, to the chirp on Tweeter, and many more, our mental plate gets filled up with energy and attention sapping social networking gluttony.

The small difference between the food and networking buffet is that with the former, we are still left with the choice to pick what we want from the sea of options, but with the latter, the flood hits us all day (and night) long.

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When was the last time you spent long hours on meaningful and productive work without interruption? If the answer is while sleeping, then it’s time we untangle ourselves from this shallow pool and exercise deep work that will bring more meaning to our lives. Our lives are getting swarmed with beeps, alerts and chimes like the sirens seductively calling for our attention to drown us into the dept of distraction.

We pay for every Kilowatt of energy consumed, and since it’s not cheap, we make use of it diligently. If we were to receive a monthly bill for our mental energy, we would be equally judicious with our attention spend, carefully spending it on meaningful things that matter. But, here’s the thing. Our focus is one of the most expensive assets we hold. And it does COST us to squander it on less valuable matters in terms of missed opportunities, drained energy, fatigue, and inattention elsewhere.

To be clear, I don’t belong to the Luddites group. I earn my living through my work in technology. However, I do practice caution from the attention-stealing buffet of networking indulgence. Like our health, mental attention and focus are precious, and deep concentration on all things relevant is a good thing, any way you look at it. We become what we eat, and we create what we draw our attention to.

What’s on your attention menu?

Thank you for sharing some of your precious time with me each week.

Until next week.



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