Distractions are Good

posted by Jonathan Frei On Thursday, September 24, 2009

Distractions are the undoing of any effective time management scheme, right? They are bad and should be avoided at all costs. They should be stomped out. I am about to unwind this conventional wisdom that I've displayed in a straw-man argument.

Distractions do not need to be bad. They don't even need to be kept under close scrutiny. Distractions can be the source of inspiration and creativity.

I don't feel any need to point out the fact that I am easily distracted. I easily stumble out of what I should be doing into unneeded activity that does not move me any closer towards checking off any of the items on my to-do list.

That's not the reason I'm looking for an alternative. I didn't just decide that maybe distractions are good since I've failed to successfully avoid them.

However, I think I have discovered that each distraction is really just an attempt to avoid work. Now, this work can be my day job or any other task I set myself to accomplish. But why? Why such an effort to avoid what I actually want to be doing?

The reason I get distracted is because my brain needs a break. This avoidance provides a valuable reset function in my mind. Without distractions, I feel I would tire of my tasks much more quickly than if I indulge myself on occasion.

I don't want to learn to avoid distractions, though. I feel and un-distracted life would be one without surprises. How many great ideas, inspirations, and moments of joy have been part of a distraction. Too much focus is a bad thing to have if it prevents the enjoyment of spontaneity.

By allowing my mind to wonder freely, I'm able to live in the moment, and experience life as it reveals itself.

Do I get less done? Sometimes. Okay, yes. But the method is acceptable.
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