I spend my day battling distractions. For example, I have to resist (often unsucessfully) checking my email constantly. When I’m on the web, I skip from one link to another.
Constant distractions and interruptions–email, text messages, calls, appointments and meetings–make it hard to focus long enough to get a good chunk of work accomplished or do creative thinking.
Help may be on the way.
Maggie Jackson is an award-winning author and journalist known for her penetrating coverage of U.S. social issues. She writes the popular Balancing Acts column in the Sunday Boston Globe. Her work has also appeared in the NY Times and on the National Public Radio.
Her latest book, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, details the costs of our inability to pay attention.
Jackson related how attention has begun to be mapped, tracked and decoded by neuroscientists who now consider attention to be a trio of skills: focus, awareness and “executive attention,” the ability to plan and make decisions.
To combat distractions, some pioneering companies are creating places or times for uninterrupted, focused creative thought. I.B.M. employees practice “Think Fridays” worldwide, avoiding or cutting back on email, meetings and interruptions. Other firms are setting aside unwired, quiet rooms.
How do you avoid or manage distractions?