For the past week, I’d been going crazy reading articles about blogging that led me to more articles pertaining to optimizing search engines for websites, personal branding and finally marketing and research all in an effort to learn how to build a better website. It was an endeavor that started with one article due more out of curiosity but quickly snowballed into a browser with ten open windows at once…all week long. This is not uncommon for me. It usually happens as a result of reading something that contains information or a word I’m not familiar with (that’s right, I said it…I sometimes need a dictionary to make sure I comprehend everything I’m reading. I feel no shame in telling you that!)
What I later realized, however, was how far off I veered from the original topic and from the one article I initially wanted to read. Not only did I not finish that article, but I was burdened with the thought that, now, I had a dozen more that needed to be finished. Aside from that, I realized how exhausted I felt from the effort and how, instead of having grasped completely the information from one article, I had tons of information about a lot of different articles I would need to get back to anyway.
Before closing the lid on my laptop for the night, I took a moment to look at all the tabs I’d bookmarked for future reference and promised myself I’d get to soon and was reminded of a video I saw that had me in stitches. These opened, partially read articles were not proof of my failings, but instead, were an indication of my deep hunger for knowledge. I can imagine the frenzy my mind was in as I jumped from one open window to the next in search of the sweet, succulent morsels of data just waiting to be picked. The thought had me reaching for a napkin to wipe my salivating mouth like a dog gone rabid, and I could feel that familiar excitement of eventually reading those articles surging up again. I wanted to jump right back into the insanity to feed that hunger even if I could barely keep my eyes open.
What I did, though, was take a moment to breathe deeply and picture a straight line from point A to point B and the steps I needed to take to make that happen successfully without all the side trips as represented by the many opened browser windows.
It wasn’t going to be easy. I was going to have to find a way that satiated my immediate desire for information with the assurance that I would eventually get back to all those links that interested me in the body of the article I was reading, which in some cases were many. I would need to develop and follow a plan. I decided a to-do list would work. I could bookmark the links to sites that were referenced, and in my notebook, I would add the reading of that article as something that needed to be done. No more was I willing to waste huge amounts of time and energy bouncing from side to side and page to page.
I would be satisfied with fully engaging in the content I was reading while still being aware of the periphery, like a dog in a race to the finish line drawn by the smell of a bone or a roll of bratwurst but diligently refusing to give into the temptation. It wasn’t going to be something that was ignored, but instead would be seen as something skirting the edges of awareness I would be rewarded with later…not during, because as the attached video proves, giving into the temptation ultimately costs me large amounts of time and prevents me from running the race to the finish.