Friday, July 9, 2010

Things I Realized in France (part 2): FOCUS

Enjoying a beer at 8:15am in Arles

These observations obviously may not apply to everyone in France (and maybe even the people we stayed with act differently in the absence of visitors), but:

People multi-task less in France, which means that their focus is less diluted. Meals are not eaten while writing emails at a desk. Businesses close for lunch, and the only multi-tasking that happens over meals is conversation. The internet is not constantly open in people's homes. Checking email twice in one day on a Blackberry made us appear to be obsessed with work when indeed we considered ourselves to be rather fully checked-out from the workplace. Email is still like regular mail: a letter is a letter, and replies need not be instantaneous. Laptops stayed closed for days rather than being constantly left open (although perhaps hibernated) with two email programs, Twitter, and three blogs open (the state of my current machine-in-use).

I think this may be a better way to live. I'm going to try to be constantly-online less, but respond personally more. And I'm going to take actual lunch breaks instead of snarfling food in front of a computer monitor. (We've already tried to cut down on the dinner-in-front-of-the-tv habit. We don't always win, but at least we try, or we pick a worthy movie instead of doing it thoughtlessly.)

Oops. The kid's awake from from her nap. Gotta go give her my full attention.




  1. Ha! Good points, good lady. We could all use a bit more focus and a bit less multitask in our lives. 'Specially with the kiddos.

    Thanks for the reminder. :)

    P.S. I'll have something snarkier to say next time. It's hard to snark when you're in perfect agreement with someone.

  2. I wish I could focus on my meals and not clean the plate in five minutes. What going to school does to you when you have night classes, never goes away even after the class is over. The righteous stomach aches later on and addition to checking the email after eating is not worth it.

  3. I wished I focused more on Oscar's little world. I try to as much as possible, but I also spend a lot of time working, cleaning, online, running errands, etc. I know he will only be little for such a short time. I also wished I multitasked less while writing. I get all anxious when I start writing and so I eat, listen to music, check email, etc. Sometimes I have to unplug and take my notebook to a coffee shop.

  4. I wish I focused on my writing more. I let everything get in the way of it, even things I hate to do.

    But I write with guilt, for I am always aware of the other "have-tos" of my world...

  5. I'm with you on the "T.V.-Eating" thing. It's a tough habit to break. I just read your "France Pt 1," and I write scenery the same way; only the immediately relevent.

  6. Really great points, Carrie. The slower pace of life is one of the things I love about Europe. But, yeah... doing laundry or going to buy groceries in between chapters is part of daily life for me.

    I do try to give the kids my full attention (but it's not always easy, especially if my mind is still on my story).

    As for TV, pull the plug! Really. We did when we moved to Europe, and it freed up unbelievable amounts of time to do other things. And to focus on them. :)