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The 2 kinds of distractions

The 2 kinds of distractions
  • Sensory distractions (External): The things happening around us, like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
  • Emotional distractions (Internal): The thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to make or thinking about a future meeting.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

William James
“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
Daniel Goleman
“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds.”
Main sources of internal distraction
  • Remote work or a lack of social interaction.
  • Multitasking.
  • Unpredictable work environments.

Emotional distractions are a symptom of our workplace culture

Lacking social interaction

Workplace isolation sends us to Twitter and Facebook. Or to check in on email and chat every 5-10 minutes to see if there’s a new message.

Solution: Creating a daily routine with time to connect with the people you work with and not just resorting to impersonal communication.

Multitasking

Living in a space of constant half-attention causes our brain to lose focus.

Solution: Adopt a work schedule designed around single-tasking. for that, learn to prioritize. Because distraction might actually be just confusion about what matters.

Unpredictable work environments

Our work environment rarely lends itself to focus. So get more comfortable with distractions.

Our brains are brilliant at noticing anything that doesn’t match a pattern. We’re drawn to novelty, which makes a distraction—like a loud coworker or hearing a one-sided conversation—in an otherwise monotonous workday very hard to ignore.

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RELATED IDEAS

Attention Management

It's is the practice of controlling distractions, being present in the moment, finding flow, and maximizing focus, so you can create a life of choice, around things that are important to you.

It is the ability to recognize when your attention is being stolen (or has the potential to be stolen) and to instead keep it focused on the activities you choose. 

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IDEAS

We are not able to pursue our goals or live a rich enthusiastic life when we feel insecure or lacking, a feeling usually formed in our growing up years. When you’re insecure, the feeling of not being good enough keeps you from pursuing goals and seeking distractions could mean you’re unaware of who you are.

How we manage our attention drives how we manage ourselves. How we manage our collective attention drives collective performance.

At work, as the number of inputs and distractions increase, controlling our attention becomes an essential skill to master. When we focus our attention on a project or campaign, the chances are that focused attention will lead to our most exciting moments in life.