How A Meat Thermometer Increased My Focus

Smoking chicken and grilling chicken are two different things. Grilling requires close proximity to hot coals. The cook eyeballs the chicken to determine if it's done or not.  Smoking has lower heat and longer cooking times. You can't really eyeball a smoked chicken for doneness. Looking at the chicken won't tell you anything. The skin may be crisp, but the breast meat isn't cooked. It takes time to smoke the meat to the right temperature. If you don't smoke it long enough the meat will be raw. Raw chicken can carry Salmonella. I can promise you that you don't want to have, or give your guest  salmonella poisoning. So the only sure way to avoid it is to use a meat thermometer. That's why I have one.  I was smoking chickens and needed it. Fortunately, I knew exactly where it was.

I Have This Drawer(s) In The Kitchen

 I think everybody has one. It's full of cool stuff I've bought. Kitchen stuff. Wine aerators, lemon zesters,infusers, and pie crust edge protectors.  I'm not sure why I have some of them.  For example, the Pampered Chef handheld cheese and nut grater. When I bought it, I already had a rotary cheese grater and slicer. I also had a box grater, a mandolin slicer, and an electric food processor. But what I didn't have was a way to make the person drawing circles, pie charts and graphs to shut up. Buying it was a small price to pay for them to leave. I may have used it a couple of times. But after a while, I stopped. But, it's cool to have, and I like cool stuff.  I like cool stuff so much that I have two drawers.

There Are Useful Things Too

Tongs, cookie cutters, and hamburger presses are in the drawers, too.  They aren't there because of non-use though.  There's just not enough space for them in the cabinets.  Or they get put there by mistake by my spouse. She has a file folder labeled 'Stuff' in her file box.  Putting the garlic press with the tomato slicer makes sense to her. After all, they are both vegetable gadgets. But, it doesn't really matter. The point is, my meat thermometer was in one of the drawers.  And I needed to find it. 

The First Thing I Noticed Were The Tongs

Lots of them. Maybe five or six pair. They were spread between the two drawers. I knew that I had a place for them in the top drawer. So I started moving all of them there. But before I could do that, I needed to clear some space. So I took some stuff out and laid it on the table.  There were kabob skewers, corn cob saucers, whisks, and plastic gizmos.  It was clear these drawers needed some organization. So, I rolled my sleeves. This was going to take some time.  Probably the better part of an hour. I was doing the calculations in my head when I saw the meat thermometer. Which reminded me of the chicken on the smoker. And my original objective.

The Meat Thermometer Focus Tip

'It's hard to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp, when you're up to your ass in alligators."  And that's very true. But that doesn't lessen the fact that the swamp needs to be drained. The alligators will find somewhere else to live once the swamp is drained.  Just focus on the task at hand. It doesn't matter if the task seems trivial. And it doesn't matter if the task is easy or hard. What matters is that the task is important. And you need to finish it. If not, how will you know when the chicken is done?

Disruptive Technology Is Like That

There isn't a day that you aren't bombarded by disruptive technology. Especially online. You search for something and click on a link in the results. It takes you the page with the information you need. But rather than being able to read it, you get a popup. Some jackass has talked the page owner to send you a survey, subscription offer, or display ad. Your focus has been disrupted, and you're off track. All you wanted to do was find out how long your chicken was supposed to cook.

So How Do You Stay Focused

 I don't know how you can do it. I can only tell you what works for me. I have start each day with a short list. I work on the list in 25 minute increments. Then I take 5 minute breaks. When I come back, and look at my list and 're-focus'. Basically that means I can't waste more than 25 minutes before I get 'woke up' again. But there are lots of ways to improve focus. Find the one that works for you and stick to it. Forget anything else that you've been told. Just find out what works for you, and do it.
What will happen is that you will begin to 'notice' the distractions. And they will make you think of the original task. In my case, it was the meat thermometer.
And that's how a meat thermometer increased my focus. 


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