How to get things done - Part IV
In our last post I talked about active and reactive states as it relates to work optimization. I hope you discovered something useful or were able to apply the strategy to fit your working style. Today, I am going to talk about how to manage work by mitigating distractions.
Distractions & Work
Some vices like social media or a glass of Japanese whisky seem obvious, but you might be surprised by what's actually slowing you down.
Anything that is not related to a primary task is a distraction.
For example, if working on a speech is your primary task, then your desire to clean your messy room, at that very moment, is a distraction. Or, if your primary task is to write a blog post, then researching facts at that very moment, might be a distraction.
Socrates considered writing a distraction. He argued with Plato about how writing things down distracted the mind from the true essence of an oral lesson.
Distractions are like bad habits: easy to share, difficult to change.
Don't worry, there is an easy fix.
Make it difficult to access your distractions.
The same strategy applies when you are trying to lose weight. If the cookies your roommate bought are hidden a few rows deep in the pantry, then it's less likely you will eat them.
When I write, I like to separate my writing (primary task) from my editorial work (secondary task). I find doing either one interchangeably distracts me from getting things done.
The opposite is also true, if I am editing and a new idea comes to mind, then that idea becomes a distraction. So if new or creative idea pops up as I write, I park it on piece of paper and revisit it later.
All of us work differently, and the key is to find a method that works best for us. But, if you are like me and find yourself switching between primary and secondary tasks, then I would encourage you to remove distractions that masquerade as work.
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
Winston S. Churchill