Hey Focus, Will You Be My Friend?

Hey guys! We don’t have too many updates on the ‘Chups front, except to mention that we’ve had a couple of great meetings with awesome people and the promise of exciting things to come. But that being said, both Matt and I felt that this little blog would also be a great platform for us to share general thoughts and experiences as we navigate the fascinating and often frustrating maze that is starting a business. 

We strongly believe that building a community and an audience is an invaluable resource for any type of business. So, until we have a more constant stream of ‘Chups-related updates (‘Chupdates?), we hope you enjoy a few random musings here and there and that maybe we can all learn a little bit from each other in the process.  

On that note, let’s talk about a little thing called focus

My thumb and middle finger constantly toggle between the command and ~ key on my Macbook Pro keyboard. (Product humble brag alert! Thanks, @AddThis.) For those who know the functionality of those keys, it begs the question – how many Chrome browser windows do I have open on average? Let’s see … one regular work-devoted window, another window allotted for personal use and then various email drafts and tasks, all waiting for me to send or cross them off the ever-growing “To Do” list.

And those are just the windows. Then there are the tabs. Gmail, Google analytics, Facebook, Twitter, 20 Google docs and spreadsheets, Yammer, articles I’m waiting to read …

It can get a little … busy.

The point I am trying to make is that I often find myself having a serious focus problem. I know I’m not alone in this. My friends and I talk about it all the time. YouTube videos, Tumblr blogs, BuzzFeed (oh, but it’s great) … the INTERNET. There are too many distractions. My attention span has shrunken to the size of a gnat. It can be a serious and frustrating problem, especially if and when deadlines are involved.

So, what are my tricks for dealing with it? For overcoming the black hole that is internet un-productivity? The truth is, I don’t have a great answer. Other than to recognize when I’m being sucked in and to fight it like one would fight any other type of behavioral problem. Sometimes I resist it, sometimes the Gawker comment section or Facebook timeline’s “See Friendship” feature wins. It’s the nature of the beast.

Now that Matt and I have started this venture, I’m much more mindful and harder on myself when I feel I’m not focusing enough. I do silly things like ask myself, “What would Ben Franklin do?” (If that sounds weird, read his 13 Virtues and it’ll make a little more sense.) Of course, Ben Franklin didn’t have Wikipedia articles about his life to consume at the click of a Google search. 

But there are benefits to sitting back for a second and asking yourself, do I really need to refresh my Twitter stream because there are 5 unread tweets? The answer is NO. I also know that when I am successful and productivity wins, I am a happier person. Much like the daily struggle of making oneself exercise or resist unnecessary helpings of food, choosing focus over Facebook makes you feel GOOD. And getting things done tends to lead to more productivity – more ideas, more creativity, and an improved ability to be able to focus.

Beyond that, I don’t really have anything overly insightful to say on this topic, other than to share with you that I do struggle with it and am constantly trying to be better about resisting the tractor beam of brain mush on the internet (or Freaks and Geeks episodes on Netflix streaming). 

At least I’ve managed to stay away from Reddit. (Don’t click it!)

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! 

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