This week I was asked to keep an “attention journal” when ever I was online. This exercise was set up to help me become more aware of how “my mind-in combination with the Web-works”. Even though there was no wrong or right way to this exercise it was awkward to document what I did, how I felt, what occurred, space and time etc. A few times I felt like I was an outside observer to my present self. It is a weird feeling.
I also didn’t like the results I logged for the week. I discovered that I am not as focused and disciplined as I thought I was. Last week was a crazy week for my family, we had county fair and a family wedding over the weekend. I spent very little time online so this week I was in a mad rush to get caught back up on my classes, which means I have been connected to my device more than normal. Lots of opportunities log observations about myself. (Sigh)
Date- July 17-21st
Description of Physical Space and Device- Most of my online interactions occured in my basement office which I have nicknamed “hell”. Some of the reasons I named it “hell” are; I sometimes feel tortured by the fact that I have assignments that need to be completed, I am secluded from my family so I can stay focused and work more efficently, I am stuck in the office for hours, etc. Not a very nice name for my office but sometimes it is the absolute last place I want to be. Occassinaly, I will use my I-Pad. I like to be outside as much as possible so having an ipad has been great, I also did a large amount of homework from my cell phone while I was waiting in the car, or at the pool watching my kids swim.
Duration of Session– I have been on the computer hours each day. Like I said earlier I have been trying to “catch up”.
What Occurred-I got lots of homework completed, I got distracted by face book (Fair and wedding pictures sucked me in), I onlined shopped, I read classmates blogs, I sent emails for the upcoming school year, I created a parent handbook, I did lots of daily creates, I downloaded music and an audio book, I made a photo album, I discoverd I have two twitter accounts (whoops! inexperienced techie), I looked at pintrest and got recipes for the lake this weekend, and then I wasted time looking at stuff I really didn’t care about…
What I did-The reality is I would be a more efficient worker if I hadn’t decided to take a mental break and check facebook, which lead me to remember that I needed to order some stuff, an hour later I returned to my assignment… I discovered that I am not as disciplined as I thought I was. After looking at my log. I realized how much time I WASTED online when I was supposed to be getting homework done.
How I felt-Most of my journal comments about how I felt were “stressed”, “Trying to get it all done”,”bored”, “curious”, “happy”. When I was working on homework and paper work for the upcoming year I felt stressed. It always takes me more time then I think it will. Through observation I discovered I chose to waste time looking at facebook when I was supposed to be working. How did that even happen????
What worked-I definatly work more efficently on my home computer. I don’t have any notifactions going off alerting me to messages, tweets, emails, etc. If I use my I-pad or phone I am constantly getting alerts that grab my attention.
What did not work-When I used my I-pad and I-phone I was much more distracted. I was either sprawled on the couch or in a lawn chair. Everytime an alert went off it was a “Good Excuse” to take a break from Homework. I wasted alot of time being distracted.
What I learned- I learned that daily I have to find balance for myself. I need to be that outsider keeping track of what I am doing to stay accountable to the time I have available. I need to be more aware that I am still getting sucked in to the alerts and distractions on my phone and I-pad. I also learned that it is very easy to fall into old habits if not constantly being aware of them. My biggest take away is the time I devote to my online learning each week. I am so grateful for the opportunity return to school but it is also a BIG commitment to my time and the reason I am not always fully present in my life.
If you are curoius about doing the attention journal click on this link so you can start your own log! http://profrehn.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/attention-mindfulness-journal/.