Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where attention meets deficit

Get your own playlist at!

So we're coming down the the wire here. Sunday afternoon before a major exam tomorrow morning at 8 AM? There's not much time left to make this work.

Still, I can't help but pause and ponder. Actually I pause and ponder quite a lot, and that's really the problem. When crunch comes to crunch, I usually can bunker down and study pretty well hours upon hours. But that doesn't stop my attention from wandering (or my brain from swelling up from the attempt of absorbing so much information). Often I'll do a very small amount of work and feel the need to take a break (to browse, to eat, to listen to music... to blog).

This is a problem for a number of reasons. First of all, I do believe that breaks are important. But a large number of micro-breaks not only pushes irrelevant information into your head while you are trying to study, but also fragments your attention from the task at hand. That is, it takes a certain amount of time to concentrate on studying, and the more frequently breaks are taken, the more time I waste getting "back into the zone." Secondly, breaks often take longer than I expect them to. This is especially true with music, because songs last between 3-5 minutes each... and because I'm so absolutely in love with music I usually feel compelled after the first song has ended to listen to another one (and browse in the meantime) and another. So we can see where a large amount of time could be lost if I, say, listened to a whole album that way.

But in the end, these are all kind of excuses. They're true - to be certain: I do waste a lot of time listening to music for that very reason, and in fact I do procrastinate far too much (often because there's so much material that it seems so overwhelming to jump in, which of course makes it only more damning when I finally do). However, when the pressure's on there's no choice but to apply that extra level of concentration - that mental power to drag your body away from the distraction it's moving toward and back toward the desk. But what an effort...


So I had planned, in the absence of any amusing photographs, to share with you guys one of the songs off the album I've been listening to lately (the Macross Frontier anime soundtrack), which has been distracting me so well.

This actually proved to be a lot of work. You see I use Norton Internet Security to keep my computer squeaky clean, and it has a neat new feature whereby it reviews just about every website under the sun, and flags them as safe or unsafe. This, understandably, gives me a great sense of security. However, every once in awhile, Norton gets a little overzealous.

For instance, it once blocked my website because it was hosted under Sympatico. Someone else had posted something evil on their Sympatico website, and so Norton blocked Sympatico totally. This I complained about, and it was fixed in about a day. Similarly, someone clearly had hosted some kind of viral document on their Snapdrive account, and so Norton blocked the whole website. This was inconvenient for me, because I had to access the website with Norton giving me this big yellow warning screen everytime I navigated to a new page.

The point is, I got the song up, and I hope you appreciate the effort... although I know most of you probably don't click the music anyways.


Alexis said...

Hehe, it's funny when the song goes waaa- Couldn't help but notice. =p

Anonymous said...

macross 7 used to be one of my favourite anime....