They sit around us, no that’s not right they don’t sit. Distractions jump and kick and scream and pout and punch and scream some more. What they want is a fleeting moment of our attention and to get it they act like an over stimulated, over sugared, tired 5 year old to get it.
The most heinous distractions in your life isn’t what you think usually. It’s not the pop-up as you read or the allure of checking your social feed. Those are obvious behaviours continually lamented which train us like the dogs Skinner is so famous for.
The more insidious distractions around us come from those that we truly want to connect with. It’s that 12th text from your spouse in the last hour to ask what you want for dinner today or just to tell you some inane hilarious thing the kids did.
These moments of connection are good for your relationship but terrible for your focus in the day. That text takes just as much focus as checking Twitter. It’s cost to your flow is just as high and yet we often neglect it’s affects when we try to cut distractions because it’s a connection from a loved one.
What we often don’t realize is that those single points of connection are thieves of time. As your work takes you longer to do you must make that time up later which means stealing from that partner you long to connect with.
Would trading 80% of the texts for an extra hour or two of face to face connection be a worthy trade? I think it would. Face to face connection brings so much more nuance to the relationship. It not only provides verbal communication but touch and smell and sight. It engages more of your senses and brings so much more of the essence of the person with it.
As you embark on the new year don’t just let yourself cut the obvious distractions. Sit down with those you love and talk about the ways in which you communicate. With 30 seconds better planning you can decide the night before what dinner will be and cut out that seemingly harmless distraction that pulls you away from moving projects forward.
Also published on Medium.