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How to achieve complete focus to listen to a podcast


There are two ways to read your RSS feeds. You can skim through the text and the titles, getting general idea on the topic, or you can sit down, take a sip of the coffee and contemplate what you are reading. The problem with the second approach is that it takes real-time and dedication as those long posts often include videos that are several minutes long. A lifetime in terms of real-time web!

Somehow a video from Merlin Mann caught my eye yesterday. In the video (embedded below, that I highly recommend), he talks about play and how we have to give our bodies something to distract them while we think and come up with creative solutions. Like playing with pans, balls, etc.

Makebelieve Help, Old Butchers, and Figuring Out Who You Are (For Now) from Merlin Mann on Vimeo.

The second interesting post I came about, and that I really wanted to talk about was from Dave Winer, where he wrote about Bruce Sterling’s talk at Reboot (mp3 of the talk).

He recommends the talk with the words:

Anyway, most of the time most of us are not in position to do anything about the mess in our lives. But listen to Sterling’s talk. It’s only 43 minutes. It might be the best 43 minutes you’ve ever spent. Permalink to this paragraph

So how do you go about listening such an important talk (and I’ve heard Bruce talk before, so I knew it’s good), without being distracted by everything around me?

Simple: put the running shoes on, load the talk on an iPod and go running. Since it’s a rather long talk, a 10km run is just about right.

What you’ll experience is a full submersion in the talk. Since your whole body is preocuppied with breathing and moving the muscles, and your ears are hearing interesting talk that your brain has to process, there is no time for wandering thoughts.

The only problem with this approach is that you have to pick up really stimulating talks that interest you as otherwise you’ll just suffer. But luckily our trusted gatekeepers keep posting links to them all the time, so it’s rather easy to find them.

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