It’s a wonder we get anything done:
“Researcher Gloria Mark says that an average worker is interrupted every 40 seconds. Half of these interruptions come through technology, while the other half are caused by self-interrupting, a skill we learn from using digital devices.”
As Anastasia reminds us in the link below, the ability to focus for long periods on creative and complex planning is one of the things that separates humans from other species. Yet, here we are, making it less likely that anyone can do that. That’s not great.
The interruptions from chat, email, and pointless meetings, besides the distractions from our phones and brains, make it that much harder to do any focused work. It also makes it that much harder to make our meetings useful.
It can be difficult to change this, though. I’ve worked for and with plenty of people who would not take kindly to having their email or chat message ignored for an hour while I focused on getting something finished or even devoting my full attention to a meeting.
That’s no way to be effective, though, and it’s well beyond the time our work and personal cultures started recognizing that, and it’s beyond time we made changes to stop giving away our focus like that instead of keeping it where it matters. That can look like blocking time out on our work calendars for focused work, ignoring emails and other distractions during meetings, or ignoring our devices when trying to be fully present with our friends and families. Multi-tasking doesn’t work. If you’re being distracted, you are not keeping your focus on what is essential. You’re letting everything else steal your focus. That’s not a good way to be successful in any area of your life.
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