Ping. Text message. Ping. G-chat. Ping. Email. Ping. Ping. Ping.
These days, we’re trained by technology. The blinking light of a new email, text, or update is a little endorphin boost, and a hook: it can be just as distracting to leave it unread, as to split our attention by opening it. I find myself responding to these pings all day long, peeling myself away from the (usually) much more important task in front of me to respond to whoever is waiting on the other end.
Lately I’ve been trying to untrain myself by thinking of each ‘ping’ as a knock on the door. If I were working and a messenger came to the door with an envelope (nay, a telegram - I’m feeling old-fashioned), I might answer it once. But what if they kept coming back every 2-3 minutes - would it even make sense to try and work at all?
I have to ask myself - is whoever or whatever is knocking something for which I’d like to answer the door? Or am I just used to answering it? These are two very important questions, especially when it comes to building community. Our time is precious, our efforts are precious, and if we answer for every knock, we risk accomplishing not much of anything.