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Why being constantly distracted is making you miserable and how to fix it

Being intentional

We’re perfectly productive when we accomplish what we intend to do.

An intention for a day could be to write a few pages. And if we accomplish that, we’re perfectly productive. An intention for a day could also be to watch five episodes of a TV show and just relax. If we accomplish that, then we’re perfectly productive then as well.

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Why being constantly distracted is making you miserable and how to fix it

Why being constantly distracted is making you miserable and how to fix it

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/9/4/20837248/hyperfocus-book-attention-productivity-distraction

vox.com

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Key Ideas

Accepting boredom

Learning to live with more boredom makes it easier for you to really feel present in every aspect of your life: work, relationships, and whatever else you want to do with your time that doesn't involve mindless scrolling on social media.

How you define "productivity"

The way we define the concept of "productivity" really influences our perception.

For a lot of people, this word suggests something cold and corporate, that speaks about efficiency and becoming a robot.

The best productivity advice

It has to do with focus and allows us to accomplish everything we want to do in a smaller amount of time, so we have more time for what’s actually meaningful to us.

Because being able to focus on things, we see more meaning in them.

Hyperfocus vs scatterfocus

  • Hyperfocus: it means directing your attention outward. It's the most productive mode of our mind, when one task fills our full attention.
  • Scatterfocus: it means directing your attention inward. It's the most creative mode of our mind, when we deliberately let our mind wander.

We’re wired for distraction

So we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves.

There’s a mechanism embedded within our mind’s prefrontal cortex called the novelty bias, whereby, for every new, novel thing we direct our attention at, our mind rewards us with a hit of dopamine

Being intentional

We’re perfectly productive when we accomplish what we intend to do.

An intention for a day could be to write a few pages. And if we accomplish that, we’re perfectly productive. An intention for a day could also be to watch five episodes of a TV show and just relax. If we accomplish that, then we’re perfectly productive then as well.

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The 21st-Century Syndrome
The 21st-Century Syndrome

This ‘21st-century Syndrome’ is due to two factors:

  1. An overabundance of dopamine-inducing options is taking its toll on our minds, making it difficult to relax.
Distractions Can Be Useful

The brain needs time and space to process information. The breaks we take during work, like talking to a colleague at the watercooler provides a ‘downtime’ and helps process information.

This takes the shape of distractions when we are at home. You could even be problem-solving while quietly doing the laundry at home, as your brain processes the events and information in the background.

Unshared Fears Lead Us Into Distraction

Our feelings, emotions and fears remain largely unshared at home, when we are trying to do many things at once, fighting countless battles single-handedly to balance everything.

Not having someone to talk to gets us into distractions, and when we force ourselves to not indulge, it makes us want to do it more.

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The Importance Of Boredom

It drives us to engage in activities that we find more meaningful than those at hand. Without it, we’d be perpetually excited by everything.

Research shows that people who are bored...

Focus And The Brain

When we’re consciously doing things we’re using the “executive attention network, ” the parts of the brain that control and inhibit our attention. The attention network makes it possible for us to relate directly to the world presently around us.

By contrast, when our minds wander, we activate the brain’s “default mode network, ” which is the brain “at rest”; not focused on an external, goal-oriented task. In this mode, we still tap about 95% of the energy we use when our brains are engaged in focused thinking. 

Types Of Daydreaming
  • Poor attention control: when people with poor attention control drift into daydreaming. These people are anxious, easily distracted, and have difficulty concentrating, even on their daydreams.
  • Guilty-dysphoric: when our thoughts drift to unproductive and negative places. We berate ourselves for perceived mistakes or flaws and feel emotions like guilt, anxiety, and anger.
  • Positive-constructive: when our thoughts veer toward the imaginative; it reflects our drive to explore ideas and feelings, plan, and problem-solve. 

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Polymaths

A Polymath is defined as one who is specialized in at least two unrelated fields or domains while having a passive interest in other domains too. They are individualists that hold a holistic view o...

Qualities Of A Polymath

When polymaths become interested in something, they don't care which domain or sphere it leads them. Some qualities of a Polymath person:

  • Above-average intelligence
  • Open-mindedness
  • Curiosity
  • Self-reliance
  • Individualism
  • A desire for personal fulfillment
  • Desire to find connections.
Waqas Ahmed
Waqas Ahmed

“The polymath not only moves between different spheres or different fields and disciplines, but seeks fundamental connections between those fields, so as to give them a unique insight into each of them.”

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