Where You Invest Your Attention (Love)

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
For one of my classes we have been talking about possibly the most valuable resource that we have in our modern times.  No, it's not money or time.  Rather, the most important and valuable thing you can invest is --- your attention.

Think about it.  Our eyes are constantly assaulted by advertisements, notifications, and emails.  Just sitting on the bus for five minutes I will scan through my Twitter feed, check my email, download a new podcast, and catch up on my Bloglovin' posts.  In class I see my fellow students surfing the web, reading news stories, and checking Facebook while a professor lectures in the front of the room.  (I'm guilty of it, too!)  There are tons of theories out there about why we do this and what the implications are (read: ADD, Thoreau objection, lack of metacognition - hooray i-schools!) but the main point I'm taking out of some of these readings and lectures is this: while the hyper-connectivity and the buzz of activity is comforting, it is not ideal nor is it productive.

I know that I am guilty of always checking my phone for a new message or update.  In fact sometimes I am so busy checking for the new-new-new that I end up not getting anything done!  So I am testing out some new things to help me disconnect even in the slightest.  I (finally!) got my new email app - Mailbox - that is supposed to help more people reach the zero-inbox than ever before.  And there's extra motivation to get down to zero because there's a new hidden photo every day only accessible after you hit zero!  I also am trying (however unsuccessfully) to turn off my phone when I don't need it, to go to bed earlier, and to take a break from my screens more often.

I'm trying to do these things because I realized I was investing my attention in some of the wrong places.  Sure, I'll watch screaming goat videos on YouTube any day, but if that's the only semi-productive thing I'm doing in the day, what does that say about the person I am?  Or if I spend my day scanning Twitter and Facebook and becoming more and more informed on other peoples lives, am I forgetting to live my own?

There's a line from a Mumford and Sons song that says "Where you invest your love, you invest your life."  I think this means that whatever you spend your time doing, wherever you put your love and your time and your attention, ends up being the stuff that makes up your life.  Right now my life is family, C, school, and dreaming about the future.  And funny YouTube videos, pictures of adorable bulldogs, and keeping track of some of my favorite people in the world.  For now this is fine, but eventually I'd like to expand that list to include some more hobbies, a career, and a home.
2 comments on "Where You Invest Your Attention (Love)"
  1. This is a very useful thing to pay attention to! LOL I totally agree. My favorite thing to do is turn off the TV and just enjoy the sounds of my family talking to each other =)

  2. [...] from there I sort of fell off the map, did some reflecting on time investment, and became even more determined to be more of a tourist in my own [...]


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