Focusing on what matters

How to avoid the information overload?

I do have a problem with information.

You know. I have to check my emails, irc, twitter, my feed reader etc. I need to.

And this thing makes me feel uncomfortable at the end of the day, because I feel that I missed something. That I missed some good time, away from news and agitation.

Working remotely is sometimes hard. Hard because you need to at the same time be in the discussions channels and work on the interesting projects. A real myth.

In practice, I'm really bad at multi-tasking. I tried a few times the Pomodoro technique, which forces me to focus on a task for 25mn, but this split of my day into slices of 25mn breaks my natural flow.

So, what do I need? I tried to change my tools, it helped a bit. Still, I'm not focused like I would like to be.

Maybe that's just me who needs some more persuasion over myself, but the best way I found to work is to unplug the cable. Literally. At work, at some point I was using a RJ45 cable to connect to the Internet. When I wanted to work on something, I could just unplug this cable.

And that's amazing how you find yourself in the process to "check" something on the web. Mails, irc… well, you got the idea. You're litterally, without even noticing, switching to your browser an opening a new tab…

Of course, that Web isn't filled only with lolcats and twitter messages (even if I would love to see a pie chart with the repartition of lolcats VS the rest of the web's content), so sometimes you need some precious bit of information that's there. Fair enough. plug the cable, do what you need to do, and unplug. Alexis, unplug!

It also helps to have some fair bit of documentation available directly on my machine (I used to have the python docs, I should get it back!)

I'm feeling adventurous, so I'll try something new starting tomorrow, and I'll report back in here my findings. Here's the challenge:

  • Check emails only once a day. Do not do it in the morning, before working, to keep my mind clear. I would say at 2pm (after lunch). (This doesn't mean I will not send mails tho)
  • Stay away from the Internet during the morning. I'll not connect if I don't need to.

Let's see how it goes :)