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Just focussing on the task to execute

  1. Jun 10, 2016 #1
    While I can often come up with ideas pretty quickly, I have trouble keeping myself focussed at tasks that just 'have to be done'. I'm talking for example about doing calculations for which you already know what the result must be or for which you don't expect there will be anything 'cool' about the results. Another example is typing equations in latex.
    I have trouble reaching max efficiency performing those tasks that are in principle not that hard; I often find myself analyzing it all too much, finding connections everywhere and than getting easily distracted from the main task (though I must admit plain facebook etc. is another source of distraction).
    In general, I seem to perform, relatively speaking, better on a conceptual/intuitive level than on a practical/executive level, decreasing productivity.

    Is this a common issue others encounter? And how do you deal with it?

    (ofcourse I hope not to sound as another narcistic gen Y kid that thinks he's a genius ;) )
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2016 #2
    You just described every engineer ever. Write 10,000 lines of code? Sure, gimme a few hours. Write a paragraph of documentation? Ugh, fine, I'll have it done by the end of the day... maybe tomorrow.

    Take more and longer breaks. Often times I find myself obsessive over certain things and can focus on them for hours and hours, I have to remind myself to stop and take a break or else I'll just burn out on it.
  4. Jun 11, 2016 #3


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    Reminds me of this,

    Nerd Sniping
    (Source: https://xkcd.com/356/)
  5. Jun 11, 2016 #4


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    I think a lot of dealing with this issue comes down to self-discipline.

    Of course your attention is drawn to more interesting tasks. Once you know the answer to a problem, you lose a sense of exploration - formally writing out a solution or documentation, etc. becomes a chore. There's no longer any immediate reward to strive for.

    In a way it's kind of like eating. Unfortunately you can't just have ice cream all the time. A big portion of your diet needs to be vegetables. The better you are at the balance, the healthier you'll be.
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