Sunday, February 20, 2011


I came across the book Focus by Leo Babauta, and decided to assign it to all of my students this semester (as supplementary reading) to help them think through their relationship to technology, and also their approach to their own lives and work.  Every now and then I open up some time for us to talk about this.  My students' reactions (not surprisingly) are mixed.  For some, these ideas are a welcome revelation.  Others resist tremendously.

Babauta discusses how our technological connectedness can be addictive.  He also points out how the addictive effects can distract us from focusing our energies well on the projects that may be the most meaningful to us.  Creative work requires times of solitude and sustained deep attention.  He is not against technology.  He is just aware of how technology can take over our lives and start to control us, and his book is largely about how we can regain control of our technology.

A lot of what he discusses about how to simplify and focus are principles I have been discovering and implementing in my own life, and so I appreciate the book for the support it offers as well as the new ideas I have been trying.  He advocates single-tasking instead of multi-tasking, and enjoying each moment.  "Practice stillness, and the stillness becomes a canvas upon which you can paint the masterpiece of your life."