Peering over the top of my smartphone I caught my daughter doing something incredible but heart-breaking. Perhaps not incredible in the sense you would imagine, she never did anything otherworldly or precociously brilliant beyond her tender years. No, it was incredible because she was competing for my attention. She was literally banging her drum louder and louder until my attention was both captured and ensured. Having won my attention, smiling back at me, she continued to play and sing in the same manner with her now captive audience of one.
As I sat enjoying the moment it immediately filled me with guilt and made me question how many times she’d done so previously but didn’t have something as attention-grabbing as a beating drum to wrestle my attention away from the ever more seductive world behind the black screen of my phone. How much had I already missed and would I one day look at my daughter through the screen on my phone despairing at all the years missed by being engrossed in the frivolous nonsense that filled my inbox or newsfeed?
Not just in my personal life, but in my professional as well, increasingly I’ve noticed that small distractions have infiltrated my daily routine and created an imbalance preventing me from achieving everything I have set out to. Whether this is in my personal or private life the struggle to escape the shackles of technology becomes harder as its use becomes further entwined in the fabric of everyday life.
I’m continually fascinated by a quote from Mark Zuckerberg about why his wardrobe is filled with identical clothing: “I’m in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than 1bn people, and I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life, so that way I can dedicate all of my energy towards just building the best products and services.” This fascinates me for two reasons:
- Firstly it fills me with admiration for being able to simplify mundane decisions to ensure unilateral thinking is focused on creative endeavours.