A reminder to stay focussed

Something really embarrassing happened to me this week.

I was in a video call with some work colleagues. And I suddenly remembered that I needed to share a link that someone had requested on LinkedIn. I’d planned to do it at lunch time but had forgotten.

I promptly opened a new tab, loaded up LinkedIn, and copied the link – ready to post it.

But then I realised… I was sharing my screen, and everyone else could see everything I was doing. Oops.

I sent a message after the call, apologising for it.

But then I sat down later and asked myself… how on earth did that happen? In the middle of a conversation I was able to lose focus enough to (i) follow-up on a thought that came to mind and (ii) forget I was sharing my screen.

On reflection, I think I have been a bit lax with my focus recently. I’ve allowed myself to follow up on impulses, when I should probably save them for later.

I was reminded of this note from Derek Sivers, from his FAQ page:

First understand the do-or-die importance of focus. If you don’t learn to focus, you will have a shallow and unrewarding life without any meaningful achievements. So make it a priority.

Read the book “Deep Work”.

Read “Trying to pursue many different directions at once?”.

Practice meditation.

Yes it’s hard. Websites, phone apps, and media in general are designed to be as addictive as possible. Treat them as you would other harmful addictions.

I immediately removed the media apps that had crept back onto my phone, started noting small to-do tasks to batch process later (rather than doing them in the moment), and made a mental resolve to stay focussed.

My favourite things this week:

(1) “The Seven Levels of Coronavirus” - The Artificial Intelligence Podcast. I came across this podcast this week, even though it was recorded back in March. Still pretty relevant. Talks about wider impacts of coronavirus and how we can respond.

(2) What’s Next in Education” (Podcast) - David Perell and Tiago Forte. I enjoyed this discussion about building online educational experiences. I’m reflecting on how best to incorporate this into my educational content.

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About Me

Hi! I’m Chris Lovejoy, a Junior Doctor and Data Scientist based in London.

I’m on a mission to improve healthcare through technology (particularly AI / machine learning), but along the way I want to share learnings that are relevant no matter your career choice or background.

In this weekly newsletter, I share my top thoughts and learnings from each week, as well as links to the best things on the internet that I come across.