I’d like to start this out by saying that as I’m sitting here, gearing up to write a post about distractions, I’ve already had to ward off several of them. Yep. In the time it has taken me to title this blog post, I’ve briefly paused to scroll through both Instagram and Twitter and conducted a couple of equally pointless Google searches (seriously, Paige, why is it you feel the need to know the weather forecast for the remainder of the week right now?!?). If that doesn’t tell you just how prevalent and inescapable this issue is, I don’t think anything will.
So, distractions. Distractions are quite different in this particular day and age than they have been in the past, mostly because they are–quite literally–everywhere. From our cell phones to our tablets to our laptops, we are constantly surrounded by a million bright, shiny, glowing distractions. With just the tap of our fingertips, we can occupy ourselves with social media posts and news articles and Youtube videos, banishing the work we need to get done to the back our minds.
So, how do we get stuff done in a constantly connected world? I realize by posing this question is probably seems like I should have a concrete answer for you, but the truth is that I’m not really sure. I think the most obvious thing to do would be to learn to disconnect. To say “okay, that’s enough internet for today” and put away all unnecessary devices until you’ve accomplished what needs to be accomplished.
However, as I’m certain we all know, that’s a lot easier said than done. For starters, disconnecting isn’t always practical or possible. We can’t power off our phones anytime we’d like because people (friends, family, coworkers, bosses, etc.) need to be able to reach us. Plus, for many of us, the devices we use serve as vessels of both work and entertainment. More often than not, the laptop that you spend hours watching Netflix on is the same one you write term papers or reply to work emails on. And you can’t exactly disconnect your Wi-fi if you’re using the Internet for your work.
Where does that leave us? Another question that I don’t have an answer for, but one I believe is still worth discussing.
When I think about my own behaviors and work habits, a common trend seems to be finding an environment that is conducive to working. While Internet access and its plethora of distractions are the same at every location with wifi (except places with spotty service, which are just the worst), I’ve discovered that being in a location designed for work is the most effective way to avoid getting distracted.
I am a lot more tempted to abandon my to-do list if I’m sitting at home in the comfort of my bed than I am if I’m sitting at a coffee shop or library. Being surrounded by other people who are engaging in productive activities makes getting things done more doable. I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but it’s definitely the way I feel.
Today’s world makes it easy for us to get distracted. Losing focus doesn’t take much effort when all you have to do is open a new tab on your laptop. However, in spite of these challenges, we have to find ways to get things done. And how we do that is really up to us.
How do you avoid getting distracted?