I’ve day-dreamed ever since that I would need a clone of myself that 24/7 reads my mind and continuously checks on whether my attention is drifting or shifting to something irrelevant at that moment and then slaps me on the wrist. Like a drill instructor or watchdog.
But seriously, how do I learn to notice those exact moments during the day before it is too late? How do I get mental awareness in the moment.
I’ve tried tools of two approaches:
- I had an app that made a bell noise every 15 minutes to remind me.
- I programmed full-screen popups with a 10s countdown to give me time to reflect what I was doing.
- I had apps with floating timers on my desktop.
- Or timers running on a tablet to the side.
- I had a kitchen timer as physical token to remind me to keep working on the most urgent task.
It turns out that the interruptors cause more distraction and make the situation worse.
And the alleged reminders just get unseen. Just like the running shoes that I’ve placed in the middle of the corridor as such a reminder over which I was able to lope daily, multiple times for over 1.5 years now (true story).
Having myself write a daily diary or log as a retrospective also sounded promising. But despite me following through for over a month daily, it just became a chore that I did mindlessly, which made it miss the point. (Oh, the irony!)
Scheduling a calendar appointment with reminders to do those reviews also simply doesn’t work. Those reminders also just get unseen, inattentively dismissed and at some point deleted.
What are your strategies?