A friend read the poem “No Tool or Rope or Pail” by Bob Arnold at a dinner recently. You can read or listen to it here (there’s a typo that’s meaningful in the second to last line – “too” should read “tool”), and find out more about Bob Arnold here.
In addition to the wonderful evocation of the scene on the porch, the virtues of work, and the importance of understanding the context for another’s actions, it also got me thinking about being in the moment. The couple is so focused on their activity that even though they look up from their labor, they probably did not notice the people in the passing truck waving. It was not relevant to what they were accomplishing.
There are many potential distractions in today’s world that get in the way of finishing a task, and sometimes those distractions get in the way of starting a task. We are finding more and more ways to become distracted. Yet completing something meaningful takes focus and effort … whether it is work-related (writing a performance review, calling a business contact, editing a letter, creating a financial model) or social in nature (listening to music, enjoying a play, watching sports, engaging in a conversation with a friend, playing a board game) the potential for distraction is always looming. Try for a day to focus just on the task at hand – shut-out the constant desire to check email, update the prices on your stock portfolio, listen to music, or keep an eye on headline news. See how much more you can accomplish … did I tell you the focus is also good for the brain? More on that next time.