Productivity

Questioning yourself + avoiding distraction

I took this screenshot online yesterday from someone summarizing a passage from Nir Eyal’s Indistractible (a book I read last year and that I thought had many good tips on decreasing distraction).

I remember thinking when I read it that what’s in the screenshot was one of my favorite take-aways.

It’s not that we “can’t” do the so-called evil, time-wasting things like scrolling on social media, watching TV, shopping mindlessly on Amazon, browsing Houzz for bathroom reno ideas, _______ (insert your favorite “distraction” here).

The issue, at least for me, becomes when I start doing these things either a) instead of something else that I really would prefer to do more (i.e. something I place a higher value on, deep down) or b) as a way to avoid doing something that I need to do (hence making said task take double or triple the time…).

In the book, he is a big advocate for planning your time, which allows you to know what you’re “supposed” to be (or WANT to be doing) in any given moment. Then it is more clear if you are being distracted, or not.

You can then ask yourself: “Is this what I planned to be doing right now???”

Some examples, for me:

🔷 (Set timer to do a deep work block, find myself tempted to open a work survey email (i.e. NOT “deep work”). “Did you plan to do this fluffy survey right now? No. You want to be getting DEEP WORK done while the house is quiet, so you can finish your work by 5 pm today. You can do the survey later, while the kids are practicing piano.”

🔷(Starting to unload the dishwasher, find myself tempted to lean against the counter and click on Facebook instead.) “Did you plan to check Facebook right now? I thought this was dishwasher time. If you check FB now, the dishwasher might take at least 10 more minutes…eating up time in your night that you could go for a walk with the boys!”

🔷(Sit down with my book because I want to read, find myself picking up my phone and checking my email.) “I thought you wanted to read. You finally have some time to read now, so why are you checking your email? What did you literally just sit down and plan to do with this time??”

You get the idea. 🙂 I like how in the book he notes that even something that seems productive, like checking work email, can be a distraction- if you’re doing it at a time that you’re supposed to be doing something else!

I really don’t think every single minute of every day needs to be “planned” (though if that works for you, great!). But I do think this concept can be very helpful for distraction-prone people (ME). I really do feel that when I keep this “plan vs. reality” idea in my mind, it helps keep me on track- in whatever I’m doing. (Even if it’s just something like cleaning the house or unloading the dishwasher. When I start doing things other than what I say I’m going to do, everything just takes longer!)

I think this is also why many time experts recommend “scheduling” social media use if people feel too addicted/ drawn to it (i.e. I will check social media on Wednesday and Friday nights, from 8:30-9 pm), much as you might schedule in watching a movie with your spouse on a Saturday night. Planned leisure time vs. a constant distraction.

Are you a distractible person? Is this an issue for you ever? I admit, I tend to be easily distracted! So these tips do help me.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for getting my second vaccine today!! Had to reschedule from last week due to our quarantine, but getting it this afternoon! Yay!

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3 thoughts on “Questioning yourself + avoiding distraction

  1. Yay for getting your 2nd dose! I hope you are feeling ok today although side effects > getting Covid!! I did not have any side effects but I am on immune suppressant drugs for RA. I have read that I might not be super protected by the vaccine because of that but am hoping and praying I am!

    I can be very distracted if I don’t want to he don’t want to be doing what I am currently doing. Like if I am working on a project I really dislike at work. I do best if I have a set list of things I want to accomplish during a day – it’s harder to do something else if I know I have other things I should be doing. I do really love the screen time limits for social media. I set mine for 20 min and I block myself from social media from 4:30-6:30!-/ this is when I should be focusing on our son after school.

  2. Oh, man. I need to read that book. I find that closing or moving what I shouldn’t be looking at (e.g., closing email, moving my phone away from my desk) helps. It’s so… basic… but for me, it works. (I guess that says something about me, ha!)

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