Going Dark: how to focus your attention


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Image by Matt Erasmus
We’ve spoken before about the need to protect attention from others – but we must recognise the need to protect our attention from ourselves. We can be our very own worst enemy.

There’s a phrase in software development called ‘Going Dark’ which refers to the time when a developer is ‘in the zone’ with their programming and has subsequently stopped answering emails or responding to other communications. They can be extremely difficult to find. Those that manage software developers get frustrated by this, but also know that there’s probably some amazing productivity happening… somewhere.

If your attention and focus is likely to be impeded by unlimited access to the internet and you’re likely to be tempted by its millions of distraction possibilities (and who isn’t?!), disconnect once in a while. Yes, a productivity blog is telling you to turn of­f the internet! If I turn off my wifi connection for two hours, I know there will be no new email arriving during that time, and that it will be annoying enough having to fiddle around with turning the connection back on to keep me from doing so.

The art of camouflage is an important skill in keeping us productive.

We may be off the radar, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re not working. Quietly hiding away is not for everyone and it’s not something you can’t do all the time. But it does focus the mind on the task at hand and avoids so many of the interruptions and distractions that we place in front of our own eyes.


Like this? Try these

Manage your attention – attend one of our How to Get Things Done workshops

Read about Graham Allcott’s latest productivity experiment: Pay Attention

Do Not Disturb – how to avoid distractions in the office


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