Sometimes small details can really make a difference in our ability to be present and focus on what is in front of us. When it comes to working on anything related to a computer, my ability to focus is, well, almost scary. The world could be coming to an end, and I might not know it if I am in the middle of building a web site. However, when I am playing with my kids, or doing some chores around the house… I can be focused at times, but certain things will throw me off. The biggest one: the classic “ding” sound from Sparrow letting me know I have a new email.
In theory, I like having an audible notification that I have a new email. However, when I am eating dinner or reading a book with one of my kids and that little “ding” goes off, it’s all I can do to keep from checking. All of a sudden, my email has a tyrannical hold on my thought process. The sound sits in my head until I check the darn thing. Our family computer sits in our great room, where we spend most of our time. If I am home, I’ll likely hear the sound. Of coure, I usually end up checking it to make sure it isn’t anything important. Thing is, I rarely have an important email of such magnitude that I would need to check it out right away. Almost never, really.
I am not sure why I let this go on so long. Such a simple thing… I turned off the sound notification on Sparrow the other day. It makes a huge difference. I still check my email quite often. But now, I wait until after dinner, or after I am done reading or playing with my kids. I love it… I changed one little setting on my email client and my ability to be present is better. Not perfect by any stretch, but better.