Distractions

The last month has been a bit of a right off in terms of getting stuff done. A cold quickly followed by nasty back pain. Throw in a mix of working days and nights and it's no wonder focus and productivity have been elusive. More often though it's by being distracted that my efficacy and output is reduced.

Distraction (dɪˈstrækʃən)
n

  1. the act or an instance of distracting or the state of being distracted
  2. something that serves as a diversion or entertainment
  3. an interruption; obstacle to concentration
  4. (Psychology) mental turmoil or madness

Often times I have conflated distraction and focus and considered them to be diametrically opposed.

Focus.

careful attention that is given to something such as a task, or the ability to give your full attention to something:

Inability to focus is though perhaps not the problem I thought it was. If it were how come we don't lose the ability to focus on our distractions? Nir Eyal suggests the opposite of distraction is not focus, it’s traction. Distraction is any action that pulls you away from what you said you’d do. Traction is any action that pulls you towards what you said you’d do

Indulging in distractions is a form of akrasia. A ‘lack of self-control’. Weakness of will. The disposition to act contrary to one’s own considered judgment about what it is best to do. That feels horrible after a while. It can become a habit. Not a good place to be in.

Overcoming distractions: How To Become Indistractable & Control Your Attention | Nir Eyal on The Reader’s Journey • Podcast Notes

  • Stop blaming stuff for your distractions. Take responsibility. Be in control. Most distraction starts from within. Notice internal triggers. Emotional avoidence is a likely antagonist. Be willing to stretch yourself. Push your limits. Be with the discomfort for a bit. The feeling will pass.

  • What do you desire? Where do you want to be? What needs doing to get there? Schedule in activties that correspond to these outcomes. Anything is permissable with intention! Without planning everything could become a distraction!

  • Manage external setting conditions. People. Noise. Comfort. Notifications blah blah blah...

  • If able to suspend your disbelief then make a pact with yourself...

    • Effort. Create barriers to disractions. Increase the effort which is required to partake in the distraction.
    • Price. Make the distraction expensive. Money in a jar kind of thing.
    • Identity. Adopt the identity of a being with focus and ability to overcome distraction!

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