How It Works: How To Handle Distractions

REALIZE THAT THERE ARE NO SMALL DISTRACTIONS

There are no ‘small’ distractions

  • There’s often a misconception that some distractions aren’t a big deal because they take less than a minute to handle:
    • Checking notifications
    • Answering ‘quick’ questions from co-workers
    • Responding to an email
  • The truth: All distractionsbig and small – have a huge impact on your overall productivity

It has less to do with using time, and more with destroying the flow

 

  • The impact that a distraction has on your ability to get things done has less to do with the length of time the distraction and more to do with the way it disrupts the flow of what you’re already doing
  • Each time you stop what you’re currently doing in order to handle even a small distraction, there are 3 factors that come into play:
    • The time it takes to slow down – the time it takes to switch from what you’re currently doing to handling the distraction
    • The length of the stop – The length of the distraction
    • The time it takes to regain your momentum – The time it takes to regain the ‘speed’ you were working on the task prior to the distraction.
      • This is often the most devastating factor of all
  • Depending on how many distractions you allow to happen, this process can be repeated many times throughout your day, slowing your forward progress down considerably
  • This is similar to driving your car in-town and stopping constantly for a few seconds at every Stop sign

How to Handle Distractions – It’s better to keep your foot on the ‘gas’

  • This is opposed to simply being able to keep your foot on the gas – stopping every hour to handle a batch of ‘distractions’ at once, and getting back on the road again

WHY THIS MATTERS/HOW TO USE IT

  • Refuse to give in to distractions – including ‘small ones’ – unless absolutely necessary (if it can be taken care of later, as many things can, then do that) – set aside time each day to deal with these kinds of tasks (a Break-Away Session).
  • Don’t destroy other peoples’ momentum by creating distractions that can be dealt with at a later, more appropriate time!

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