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I’m Focusing on Defocusing

16/04/2012

DefocusAs part of my new year’s resolutions my friends told me to defocus, and to live in the here-and-now. (Yes, we had new year’s resolutions for each other, and not for ourselves.)

It was good advice. But it’s hard. For me.

I’m very good at focusing on my work. Which is probably why I felt I didn’t get much value out of the pomodoro technique when I tried it. (I found it annoying that I was interrupted every 25 minutes, and that my breaks were dictated by a plastic tomato instead of the natural flow of my work.)

I don’t need tools for focusing. I need tools for defocusing.

That’s why I started using the following tools, in the hope that they will help me defocus from my regular work as a writer, speaker, and trainer:

  1. I bought a little Casio photo camera and I try to take nice pictures, which I upload to Flickr.
  2. I now spend more time reading novels, and I keep track of my reading progress on GoodReads.
  3. I like watching movies (though never alone), and I keep track of my movie ratings on IMDb.
  4. I bought Wallpaper City Guides for each of the cities I will visit in the next few months (if available).
  5. And I’ve started a project finding and organizing my favorite music on Spotify.

I hope this helps.

Though, I must say, I noticed when playing around with my photos, books, movies and music, that I seem to have a quite focused approach to the problem of being too focused.

(photo: ume-y, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

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This article is written by on in Life & Work. Jurgen Appelo is at Happy Melly. Connect with Jurgen Appelo on .

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  • François Michas

    It’s a very nice post. As curious as you are it’s very strange that you have problem to defocus.
    I do experience the exact opposite of your ability. I tend to defocus a little bit too fast not to say at speedlight.
    I’m really keen on those tools and point of views you’re giving us. There are many proposals out there to getting things done. Do you’ve any proposal of your own to help getting focused ?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    I’m focused on the things I’m passionate about. I don’t need any tools to remain focused. My passion is the tool. :)

  • Brian Kirkegaard

    Great and really relevant post. If we don’t defocus sometime we won’t be able to keep the focus that are expected from both employer and employees.
    I tend to defocus while running in particular, but I think any sort of training would do. The rhythmical pounding of my feet is almost like meditation.

  • http://Www.simplexeo.com Laurent Sarrazin

    Jurgen, thank you for your nice post. On my side, i started Sophrology 2 months ago, to cool down a bit, after having tried many thing to ‘unfocus’, ie just enjoy the ‘now’. Sophro is really good to empty your head, body, reconnect with your internals, reenforced your verticality, …
    I take the opportunity to ask you if u did something with “tribal leadership” i just saw in your GoodRead list. Actually, i’m currently “eating” this book, and wanted to contact you about it. Working for a significant Investment Bank, i created an Agile Center to lead our odyssee to agility. Oana J. helped me end of 2011, and i used a lot of Mgt 3.0 items as the innovation curve. Today, we are stuck to catch the Early Majority. I also used a lot of patterns suggested by Linda Rising in her Fearless Change book.
    Tribal Leadership did open my eyes on the limits of Stage 3 (i’m great, u r not), and probably keys of our stuck situation. It is a bit hurting, but a good ass-kicker to pursue the journey taking a new route, the Stage 4.
    Would you have anything tonshare on this ?
    Hoping to meet you during your next stop in France :)
    Laurent

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    Sorry, I didn’t read the Tribal Leadership book (yet). I have nothing to share about it right now.