153: A Wandering Mind, with Kourosh Dini

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Looking forward to this, I have his excellent “Creating Flow with OmniFocus” book which provided a lot of great ideas about implementing OF in my life in unobtrusive ways.

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In listening to this episode, it struck me as odd that the very common introvert characteristic of having difficulty refocusing when being interrupted from deep thought would be considered “the dark side of focus.” In the books I have read about introversion, it was commonly understood that when introverts are deep in thought, it takes a bit of time to make the mental transition from what we’re thinking about to a new stimulus, such as someone talking to us. It was accepted by writers about introversion that the transition would take time, and often was accompanied by a sense of irritation at the process of having to suddenly shift mental gears.

This was in a context having nothing to do with productivity. It’s just a natural response to the nature of deep thought and refocusing follows naturally. It’s not a “problem,” and not something to feel bad about. I’ve found it’s helpful to explain what typically happens and what’s going on inside me to those who might interrupt me (in my case my spouse) so she knows what’s going on and that it will take me a minute to recalibrate. It’s not a “problem” that I respond in this way, it’s a natural response given the context.

To me, it’s similar to what happens when someone wakes you from a sound sleep. Because you’ve been sleeping, it takes you a minute to wake up and figure out what is happening and what someone is saying to you. It’s not a “problem” or “the dark side of sleep,” but just the nature of things that when you sleep, you need time to wake up before you can understand and respond.

Sometimes I think we try too hard to over-analyze, dramatize, and characterize behaviors that are not that difficult to understand as just normal, natural reactions.