15. I think I can concentrate on a task. And I can. I know this because I focus on a very time-consuming task, sit down and devote myself to it (usually I load up a DVD or have some drama streaming to my computer in the background) until a lot of the task, or all of it, is accomplished. Then I wish that tasks were smaller, but what can I do about it? I seem to choose tasks that involve a lot of work - a demanding course, sorting all the clothing that is to be given to a charity, filing months of papers, etc.
However, I notice that I cannot focus other times - and this is news to me because I'm just noticing this now. Perhaps I have always been this way. I became aware of the tendency when I read, 'How to Live on 24 Hours a Day,' by Arnold Bennett.
This is an oldie, but a goodie. Arnold Bennet died in 1933, yet this book's reputation endures. In the book, he attempts to train the reader to manage his or her time optimally. Unlike modern time-management books, the message delivered is not to multi-task.
He says, 'When you leave your house, concentrate your mind on a subject (no matter what, to begin with). You will not have gone ten yards before your mind has skipped away under your very eyes and is larking around the corner with another subject.'
I began paying attention to my own mind-wandering tendencies and found that I mind-wander 24/7!
I pray (it's an activity encouraged by my religious upbringing, and in my old age, I've revived the childhood habit) and find myself thinking of other things while I pray. While driving, I think about some issue that seems important and I notice that while thinking about that, I also try to fit in forty other observations and random thoughts that have nothing at all to do with it. I try to rein myself back in to the topic at hand and almost immediately, something else pops into my mind to think about.
I'm going to have to work on this one particular skill until I can feel that it works for me - after all, focusing on what I need to do to not overeat is a task, intending to exercise and then following through is a task. Breaking down bigger issues into smaller tasks is natural, but: my mind wanders!