Dealing with Distraction – TPW243
Published May 22, 2019
48 min
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    Does distraction interfere with your productivity?

    Celebrate with me

    The Productive Woman turns 5 years old on July 1, 2019. I'd like to celebrate by putting together an episode featuring feedback from the TPW community. Would you consider sending me a message I can share with listeners in the upcoming episode and tell me a little about what The Productive Woman podcast means to you? Feel free to share why you listen, what your favorite episode is, or what key lesson or takeaway you picked up from the podcast. You can also do this via voice message--use the voice memo app on your smartphone to create an audio file you can email to me, or click on "Send me a voice message" on the right side of this page. I hope you'll participate--send me your email or voicemail message by June 5, 2019. If you send a voice recording, please keep it under 2 minutes and make sure to introduce yourself so I know who to be grateful for!

    Understanding and managing distraction

    I've noticed lately that I’m more easily distracted from work, from personal tasks, and even from conversations. I started thinking about how easy it is to be distracted and decided to do a little investigation into distractions and how to deal with them.

    What is a distraction?

    A distraction is “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else” or (according to Webster) “something that distracts: an object that directs one's attention away from something else.” Synonyms include diversion, interruption, disturbance, intrusion, interference, obstruction, hindrance.

    Notice the definitions don’t assign value to the thing that’s distracting or the thing that’s being distracted from. Both are neutral. Good things can distract from good things, or even from better things. Good things can also distract from bad things, as in the case when medical professionals using distraction during painful or uncomfortable medical treatments. But when it comes to being productive, distractions come with a cost.

    The impact of distraction

    Economic Impact

    Digital distractions, for example, come with an economic cost. According to one source, social media alone costs the US economy $650 billion.

    In another article, The True Costs of the Distraction Economy, the writer points out the economic costs of the “distraction economy," described as “one where people have prioritized technology over people.” According to this article, our efforts to connect through technology result in us disconnecting as we’re focused on the tech rather than the people we’re actually with.

    This particular article was written in the context of business and talks about the risks for leaders: setting a poor example for those we lead and failing to establish focus. I thought these ideas could be applied in our homes as well.

    “If a leader is constantly distracted and not paying attention, they're telling the rest of their team this is an acceptable standard. . . . Leaders operating without focus and intentional attention risk damaging relationships, missing key performance objectives, losing top talent to other organizations, [and] customers choosing other companies [and] vendors taking advantage of their distracted state.”

    Individual/Relational Impact

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