Thoughts about focusing on tasks, and escaping the magnetic pull of distraction by keeping track of the thoughts that would otherwise be left behind.
I have a terrifically hard time focusing on things. I have times where I'm heavily engaged, and I have times where I cannot focus on things that interest me to save my life.
It's part of why things got tougher for me at Google, I think. My attention span went to crap, and I just struggled to get myself to buckle down despite that because of my growing discontent with the work I was doing, the company I was doing it for, the team I was working with. (But not my teammates, I should stress, just... the team environment, I suppose.)
I really heavily struggle with distraction. If I don't have it, then I'm distracted by the strong urge to seek it out. If I do have it, then I'm distracted by it, usually to the detriment of both the original task and the new distraction.
I have trouble setting things aside, I think it is. I have to chase a thought that enters my head, and follow it to its conclusion, even though that almost always means losing what I had already. This sounds very similar to the kinds of things that I remember hearing in Headspace, the talk about the traffic being so heavy and all, and always wanting to chase the cars. I normally thought of that in the sense of always envisioning myself in the same car perhaps. But what if, in the rest of my life, my focus issues come down to just... wanting to chase any car?
A lot of the work I do is thought-based. Writing, roleplaying, programming, designing. These aren't real, physical, concrete things; they're simply thoughts. Speaking a foreign language to my friends isn't usually this way; it's real and immediate, and it cannot be ignored. (Though even in conversation I sometimes get lost in rabbit holes.) But chatting with my friends in Japanese is heavily thought-based, and I can easily get distracted from reading a message or writing one by other thoughts.
I think part of what this comes down to is the fact that there's a lot going on in my head at any given time. And I don't want to forget anything that's important.
So... Maybe a good thing to do is to combine the mindfulness techniques with some way to address the matter of forgetting things.
I'm thinking that there are a few ways I can prevent myself from forgetting things. One is to write it down on a piece of paper, then after completing the task I'm working on, transcribe the tasks on the paper onto my Todoist list. That's good, but it requires breaking my focus for anything that requires me to be already working with my hands doing anything else, including typing. With typing, I can potentially write a small hotkey utility which triggers an input box that requests the name of a task and then submits it and disappears. There may even be a way to do this within Todoist itself.
But for cases where I'm not typing, such as when I'm doing laundry and so on... Perhaps I can try something like a voice memo app or something. That kind of thing would allow me to take note of a thing without taking my focus away from the thing I'm working on.
In the long run, maybe I'd be able to simply refocus my attention and trust that anything important will be remembered and anything forgotten will be unimportant. I don't honestly know.
But it's worth a try, isn't it? Let's give it a shot here.