During my interview for Cory Huff’s book launch party, I was discussing why Facebook and YouTube aren’t really interruptions — they’re distractions. The key difference between an interruption and a distraction is that interruptions are externally forced upon us, whereas we choose to be distracted. Your laundry and YouTube don’t knock on your door; kids and pets do.
Someone asked a great question, though: What if you create on YouTube? What if your work is actually on Facebook?
Those questions illuminate the tension we all feel in that the mediums of purposeful work are also the mediums of distraction — we can’t just cut out the medium. Email, Facebook, YouTube, Slack, and so on thus require a different degree of discernment than, say, Hulu or TV, for those of us not in the media industry or ecosystem. At the same time, we know the difference between being in a medium purposefully and being there out of habit or because we need a quick hit of digital dopamine.
Actually, that’s not quite right. When we’re there by habit or due to needing a digital dopamine fix, we largely don’t decide to be there, in the same way that we don’t decide to be hungry when we smell food cooking. The nature of the mediums is that you can chop your day into clicks and three-minute snacks and you only later recognize that that’s what happened.
So, what to do? Some of our work is there, but the non-work stuff can displace the work stuff.
Here are three quick(ish) ways to handle this tension:
- Be specific about the tasks you need to do before you head there. As with objectifying email, you can be clear about what specific items you need to watch, post, or share.
- Use timers to make sure the work-graze slide is minimized. A new favorite of mine is marinaratimer.com because it handles Pomodoro and custom timers nicely.
- As always, firewall your creative time as much as possible and consider separating distraction-prone tasks into blocks of time when you can be distracted without displacing your deep creative time.
We can’t avoid the Loop entirely, but we can be better about making sure it doesn’t eat away at our deep creative time.
Here’s This Week’s Pulse:
- It’s the first week of Quarter 3 for 2016. Make the most of the second half of the year with our planners and productivity worksheets. Check out the free planners or treat yourself to our premium planners, now half-off.
- Next Monday is July’s Monthly Momentum Call. No Wi-Fi? No problem — you can join the call via phone from anywhere and ask me anything.
- I compiled 10 posts that encapsulate the core ideas of Productive Flourishing in the form of a FREE ebook, The 10 Pillars of Productive Flourishing. (This is a direct download link.)
- Want quick and easy access to the most popular PF posts? The Top Posts page has been revamped! Post topics range from email management to small business success and beyond.
Quote of the Week:
“I get up every morning determined to both change the world & have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” –E.B. White
Book of the Week:
TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments by Douglas Conant — Most books on leadership focus on meetings, presentations, and big team-building events, but the majority of our leadership moments happen in the hallways, in informal meetings, and in the emails we send to our teams. TouchPoints is remarkable for the way that it addresses this idea, and it provides insights on how to align our heads, hearts, and hands in the leadership touchpoints that occur every day.
Features and Mentions:
- Tara Gentile outlines the valuable opportunity gap that exists between relationship marketing and conversion marketing in this recent post. She lists The Creative Giant Show as one of the seven business resources that bridge the opportunity gap.
- Lacy Boggs succeeded not just in writing an ebook in less than a month, but also in climbing her way up the Amazon bestselling list. Learn how she did it and see which piece of advice she found useful from my participation in Tara Gentile’s course.
The Latest Podcast:
Peter Drucker said, “The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction, and malperformance.” In a similar vein, it seems that businesses and organizations naturally tend toward complexity, much to the dismay and frustration of the people in them and those who interact with them. You can’t beat complexity with more complexity — Ken Segall joins me to share why leaders have to Think Simple to counteract complexity.