Attention is a precious thing these days. Emails, Facebook notifications, playlist notifications, colleague asking for help, loud neighbours, annoying ad and so many others, they are all running your power of concentration really low.
There are all kind of discussions about how knowledge workers have a hard time nowadays to produce ‘deep work‘, the kind of work and thinking that is required when trying to solve difficult and profound problems.
All these distractions have become part of the normal, we rarely know how to work without being distracted. When we are not being interrupted, we find distractions ourselves, because that’s how we got used to.
You know all this and if you don’t, I suggest you follow Cal Newport, he researches and writes extensively about it.
But this is not what I wanted to talk about today. Well, still about distractions, but specifically when these are used for procrastinating important work. Truth is that doing important work is not always pleasant, especially when starting up.
And I say this from experience. Many times I find myself buying all kind of new cool apps or tools or whatever, telling myself they would help me get done things easier. Then I need to learn how to use these and I tell myself that once I get used to them, I’ll be the most productive person in the world.
All this, just to jump from one distraction or pretext to another, so I don’t start working on that important thing, which will get me further on my path and make me a better you_name_what. And that is because important work is hard and most of the time you don’t know exactly what you are doing. It involves discovering and trying out new things and many, many, many times, it involves failing.
So what I am saying here (thanks for reading so far, you’re a star!) is make your decisions based on how they serve your goals. And if you decide to cut yourself some slack and buy that cool shiny new app, go ahead! But at least don’t lie to yourself that it will be the next best thing after sliced bread, because most of the times it won’t be.