Today I downloaded the Forest app for my phone. It’s basically a gamified pomodoro timer. I have used the pomodoro technique to focus on doing things I need to do, but don’t want to do. Then I would reward myself with x amount of time doing something fun. For instance, I would clean for an hour, then reward myself with a TV show.
However, not enough focus is not usually the problem I encounter most often throughout my day. My problem is usually too much focus!
I setup Forest to build a virtual cedar tree, which requires 30 minutes of focus. The biggest value for me wasn’t the focus time, it was the timer that told me to STOP FOCUSING. When that timer went off: I got up, got a refill on my tea, kissed my wife, moved my eyes away from the computer and generally slowed down for 5-10 minutes. It gave me time to appreciate the moment and time to be still with God.
In the afternoon, I did a task that required deep focus which took about 3 hours, and I just went straight through without any breaks. Man, did I feel terrible! My head was killing me, my mood was terrible and it was just genuinely unpleasant all around. I wish I could say I did this on purpose so I could notice the difference between a good habit and a bad habit, but I genuinely just reverted to my normal state of deep focus. Nonetheless, going back and looking at my morning and my afternoon was a very stark contrast.
I am gentle with my failing today simply because showing me how my patterns are making me unhappy and less healthy in a very plain, straight-forward manner was an incredibly valuable lesson as I go into the new year.