There's plenty I can relate to, in your essay.I'm part of "generation-X," and my schooling bridged the eras of handwriting/typewriting and PCs with unbidden mechanisms to redirect spelling/grammar/style. Some of my friends and I say "we're the last generation that sent thank-you cards." What I find myself doing is stepping out of my self and stopping to look around at all the earbud-plugged laptoppers in my midst, and in response I shut off anything that endangers my thoughts. Silence is disarming and confrontational all at once- and I've taught myself to thrive in it, even seeking it out!If you can, try to go on a solitary retreat. Take your journal and typewriter. Highly recommended!
Yeah, I can only work or write in silence. Not exactly sure how that happened in my life, but that's the way it is.Granted, at work, I am constantly multi-tasking, but I find that I do that because I'm able to do my job at a high level without too much thought. Kind of happens when you've been working at the same company for 10 years, I guess.
I've found that reading and speech are distracting - so yes, a digital austerity, if not full sabbath, and music is variable or task-specific. For example I like "trance" music for tasks requiring concentration, but classical for more creative work because it affects me emotionally. I completely agree about either no lyrics, or my workaround is languages I don't understand. Opera works for that, as does Kate Ryan singing in French.
I think the digital sabbatical will increasingly become a common goal for people as they realize that the ideal of multitasking is literally a mythical goal-- the brain does not process multiple inputs with a high degree of efficiency-- it isn't designed that way.
Great comments, everyone - thanks!speculator - That retreat sounds intense. And awesome. I'm working up to it... perhaps my sojourn in a chalet at Christmas will be wireless after all (if not solitary, alas). deek - I know what you mean about work; routine will do that to you. It removes the element of challenge, though, which is disquieting because I feel I'm not growing.notagain - Classical is a great idea! I always forget about it when deciding what goes on in iTunes. I should borrow some from the SO, he knows more about it than I do.Strikethru - Like everyone else, I thought it could be done but I'm gradually coming around. There is an element of addiction about it which is quite unpleasant as well!