Attention literacy : Howard Rheingold : City Brights. I opened my first class session this semester by projecting the word ATTENTION on a screen and telling my students that class begins when they turn off their telephones, close their laptops, and shut their eyes for sixty seconds.
I asked them to observe for one minute where their minds leap without any external distractions from their top friends on MySpace or their World of Warcraft guild. From the beginning, I remind these young people that the purpose of my attention probes are to plant seeds of mindfulness about how we all use our attention, especially in the presence of seductive distractions from email to Facebook to IMing. The Pomodoro Technique™ My Library tagged workflow. Writing is a skill that requires practice.
So the first part of my system involves practicing on a regular basis. I didn't know what I was practicing for, exactly, and that's what makes it a system and not a goal. I was moving from a place with low odds (being an out-of-practice writer) to a place of good odds (a well-practiced writer with higher visibility). TEDx Brighton notes on my talk | Open (minds, finds, conversations)... * * Updated: I have posted the video at the foot of this post * * These are the notes and links to accompany the talk I gave just now at TEDxBrighton (I will add the video to this post once it is available).The opportunity to give this kind of a talk was one I was really excited about, because it gave me the excuse to focus on a subject I’d been thinking about for a while and develop some ideas.When we talk about the web as a distraction, about information overload, about fears and doubts we are not alone.
But rather than blame the web, or tools like Facebook, Google or Twitter, we should think about how we can learn the skills, habits and self-discipline required to tap into the web? S power to help us to do things faster, better and with greater impact. To gain the most from using the web we need to think about how it is best used. This applies to everyday life, especially to knowledge work, or the knowledge-based elements of our working lives.