To keep my sanity while writing a federal grant, I finally broke down and purchased a second monitor. I had been avoiding it because I think the diversions outweigh the benefits, but the need to merge multiple documents finally tipped the balance.

Two monitors now allow for a dozen or so tabs to be open at once. Couple that with our phones that have folders and several screen pages of apps — so many that it required a new “shortcuts” function so we can find them. We also listen to music or podcasts while allegedly working on other projects.

I wonder how much we can really manage simultaneously.

Maybe you feel you need the monitors and earphones and you find your phone apps to be functional, but try to carve out at least one place that allows you to focus. Read a book with the television off. Sit outside and watch the world go by without a phone in your hand. Enforce a no-tech zone at meals. Utilize the “focus” function in Word that blocks out everything else on your screen.

There are so many things in our external environment that bombard us with information and stimuli, do we really have to add to it ourselves?


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