That picture is from 1983, the first day at school. Dad and mom got me ready, and then when they were seeing me off for my first day at school, this is the photo (in the header) they took. Then next couple of years, it was my ride to school, a horse buggy, with other neighborhood kids. Rain or shine, we always have to have this ride.
During my ride, whenever we reach school, there is a mix of school vans and horse buggy, since that was pretty common in the early to late 80s in Karachi, Pakistan.
Then I start noticing a strange thing, when I grew up a bit, there was a weird thing on horses’ eyes. One day, I asked our coachman, “Why they have that weird thing on their eyes?”. “So they don’t get distracted, and they are an animal, they sometimes afraid from a sudden movement from their surrounding”.
Just a month ago, when we entered the final quarter of 2020. I personally use the last quarter of every year as a retrospective time for myself. This is where I decide and plan for the following year. And I stumble upon some habit-forming books and how to ship the product. After reading many of them, I concluded that it is all about “avoiding” distraction and staying focused.
I need to build my own “blinders” / “blinkers.”
I believe this is exactly what we need, whether you are deciding to advance in your career, a tiny project on the back-burner, or a big idea. Blinkers that we create for our own is important. Numerous books have written on this topic. A popular one is Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nil Eyal.
Here is what I am doing:
Trello’s mise-en-place template
This is the easiest one, just put everything in the inbox, and then if you want to focus on certain tasks today, tomorrow, and this week, just place them one by one and don't’ forget to put the reminder.
Do not disturb (DND)
Usually, I keep my phone on DND mode. It helps me stay in touch with only a few folks and see notifications when I need to. Not when the app wants to.
If something really needs my constant attention, then I write them down on a sticky note and then put them on my monitor. Sharpie, big and bold ones are super helpful in this regard.
Stick to it
Why not apply a nifty little technique known as “Kaizen”. Don’t go for a big change, just a tiny thing, but daily.
For instance, I start spending 5 mins daily early in the morning to look into my “inbox”. Also, I am applying this idea to my learning; for example, I am learning some advanced prototyping techniques in ProtoPie, I am spending 20 mins daily. Just 20 mins, 10 mins of video, and 10 mins of follow-up. That’s it. Just a tiny habit, to build a strong foundation. Also, my reading habit is improved, 20 pages a day. And I am sticking to it.
What other methods you have in your life to build solid “blinders”?
Hi! There, I am Mudassir Azeemi, a culturally aware product person with 10+ years of experience. I am currently working on a mission-critical application at Wells Fargo, leading the design system effort for Commercial Electronic Office (CEO) Portal. And I teach at UC Berkeley at UX/UI Bootcamp as a lead instructor. I brought the Urdu language to Apple’s iOS 2 billion devices! My mantra is finding patterns in chaos. Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin if you’d like to chat or to say hi! I am also mentoring via ADPList.org. You can also subscribe to my newsletter