DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

Filtering by Category: Technology

Continuous Partial Attention

Daniel Goleman mentions a phrase in his new book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. It's "continuous partial attention." It's not a new phrase; it's supposedly been around for some 15 years. But it is both descriptive and damning at the same time.

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Continuous partial attention means that we are paying attention to many things, but at a superficial level. We're never completely tuning in to one thing because of the other stimuli competing for our attention.

  • It's checking in on Facebook while the professor lectures.
  • It's pulling out the smartphone while on a date with your wife.
  • It's tweeting in the middle of a sermon.
  • It's missing out on what's here because we're wondering what's going on somewhere else that we're missing.
  • It's never being able to pray because we're too distracted. 

What's lost is the ability to pay attention, to sustain thought, to be fully present. And that's a shame when it comes to our most important relationships, not to mention our ability to think and pray.

I know two things. One: this is not a good way to live. Two: it's dangerous to the soul. Could this be one of the greatest pastoral issues that we are facing today?

Two Tech Tools

I'm always on the lookout for tools that make life easier or more productive. Here are two. I found one recently, and the other one I've been using for a while now.

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Sanebox

I can relate to what this New York Times writer says about email:

This month alone, I received more than 6,000 e-mails. That doesn’t include spam, notifications or daily deals, either. With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace.

Email drives me crazy. Rules and filters help, but it's hard to keep up. I recently came across Sanebox, which does a lot of the work for you:

SaneBox filters your Inbox. We separate emails that you must deal with right away from ones that can wait at least a couple of hours. And we do it automatically with no fuss and bother. All you have to do is click twice and eventually pay us some money.

So far so good. It's like having somebody separate all the flyers and junk mail from the stuff that actually matters. They give you a free trial, so you may want to check it out. I don't get any affiliate fees; it's just because I think it's a helpful service.

IFTTT

IFTTT stands for "If This, Then That."

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You can set a trigger (the "if this" part) based on almost anything on the internet: the weather, a Google Reader post, something on Twitter or Facebook. This will cause a certain action to be taken. If you don't know where to start, you can simply use recipes that other people have created. For instance:

  • When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture.
  • Thank people in Twitter when they mention you or RT
  • Text you the weather every morning
  • Send starred items in Google Reader to Evernote

The possibilities are almost endless. It's a great free service, and you can't lose giving this one a try.

Something's Not Working

I'm on a retreat today. The first part of any retreat is beginning to slow down from the distractions that surround us. I was struck by this quote from Living Into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions:

Something's not working. "Labor-saving" devices make us busier. The faster computers go, the more time we give them. As highways and cars improve, we drive farther and vehicles become increasingly expensive. Email speeds communications but eats up greater amounts of time. With the ongoing invention of "essential" devices (even energy-efficent ones), we consume growing quantities of power...Too much of our lives are fragmented and frantic, leaving us frustrated.

One of our greatest challenges is learning to free ourselves from the tyranny of all the technology that is supposed to make our lives better. It's not that the technology is bad; it's that the technologies come with a price that we often don't count on paying.

Action Method Online

I've been looking for a good task manager lately. It's been surprisingly hard. You wouldn't think that it would be hard to find something that's beautiful, works well in a team context, and is simple and powerful, but I haven't found a lot out there. I've tried Mac apps, IOS apps, online apps, and even pen and paper, but I have never found the solution that I'm looking for — until now.

They've just unveiled a new version of Action Method Online, and I'm loving it. The Action Method is outlined in the book Making Ideas Happen, and also online. I started using this last month, and I love it.

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Here's what I like:

  • It's visual. I love that it uses colors and gives you more than a list so that you can really visualize what you have to do.
  • It's intuitive. It doesn't take a lot to figure out how to use it. I was going in no time at all.
  • It works well in a team. I like that I can delegate tasks easily and keep track of what's going on.
  • It helps me focus. It allows you to choose five tasks and put them in a Focus Area. That's a great idea for setting the top things you want to accomplish that day.

I'm loving it. You may want to check it out too. This article will give you the rundown on how and why it works.

Too Connected

We're back from two weeks camping at Restoule Provincial Park, Ontario, four hours north of Toronto. It's a beautiful spot, and we had a great time.

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One of the best parts about Restoule is that there is no Internet or cell phone coverage. Actually, there is if you really work at it. If you stand on the beach at just the right spot and hold your phone into the air, you can pick up a signal for a few minutes. This can be quite entertaining to watch to be sure!

Now that I'm back, I already feel the tug of staying connected. I was struck by the truth in this article:

Every day of my life is filled with moments that cannot be captured—moments more glorious than what took place on that San Diego night. We have to hold these moments with an open hand and pay attention. But it’s hard to pay attention, isn’t it? When it comes to wonder and glory, if we’re honest wouldn’t we have to confess that there comes a point where we run out of the courage to remain engaged, where we bounce back and hurry for the latitudes of home comforted by the fact that we took a lot of great pictures?

Or, you could add, knew the latest news, and had read all the latest blogs and tweets. Not only is this distracting, but it turns out that it's not good for us either. It's making us lonely and depressed. This probably shouldn't come as a surprise.

One of the best lessons from camping was that life is richer without the constant tug to stay connected. It's much better to be present. It's a tough lesson to apply in an overly connected world.

P.S. I don't feel too guilty for taking the picture of the sunset!