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When was the last time you watched a 90 minute movie without drifting off with the thoughts, pulling out the smartphone or doing something else in between than watching the movie? I often cannot even manage to watch a 30 minute video without being distracted.

At least when I am alone, it is always very difficult for me to focus and not to be distracted during passive entertainment. When I watch a movie with my girlfriend, it usually works out quite well and I can much better focus on the movie or if so, the little distraction by her is enough.

But even with active entertainment it does not look much better: When did I last finish a book and not just start reading it? That was a long time ago, probably over a year. In the case of really exciting novels, the suspense makes me keep going and read the book to the end, but non-fiction books that I want to read because I want to further my education or find out more about a subject, I give up after half of the book at the latest. I always think that I’ll continue reading at another time, because I don’t have enough motivation or am too tired.

I must admit, I’m a lazy person. I usually try to solve things in the easiest way and often use the minimal principle to get things done acceptably with as little effort as possible. Unless, of course, I’m really on fire for something. If a problem won’t let go of me and I can’t rest until I’ve solved that problem. But somehow this is rather rarely the case. For example when I wanted to make my blog fit for the Fediverse and implemented support for the ActivityPub standard. I sat there for several hours every day for almost a whole week and read about the topic, searched and analyzed source code, wrote my own code and finally tested it.

I wish I could reach this level of enthusiasm more easily, get excited about topics more easily and then be able to read a nonfiction book completely within a week. I wish I could focus better, even if a passage in the book (or film) is not very exciting. Am I damaged from the Internet, where most things only need a short attention span?

But maybe I should start with easier steps and try to read longer blog articles in one go without being distracted by the other entries in my reading list or reloading the newsreader to see if there are new articles to read.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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