The Subtle Yet Insidious Power of Procrastination
Part 5: Breaking Free from the Distraction
“Relax don’t do it,
When you want to go to it.”
— Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Getting distracted. I do it. You do it. People do it to us. We do it to them. Cat videos. Going down the Wikipedia hole. Talking to a coworker about your furniture. Facebook (Grrr). Someone’s overwhelming halitosis problem. Texting. Not getting a text. Worrying. Life pressures.
ADD has seem to come into its own as a fashionable condition one can attribute themselves to being flaky, disorganized and generally all over the place. It’s a wonder if this is more of a comment on our distracted culture than it says about some sort of psychological condition.
We have an almost pathological need to be doing something other than what we “should” be doing.
For me, if I spend more than four hours sitting at a computer I start to putter out. No matter what it is I am doing. Words don’t come as easy. I start typing nonsensical sentences with no meaning whatsoever. If I waste that time surfing the Internet, I can feel the time just slipping away from how much longer I will be able to focus on the task at hand.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Attention is a limited resource. Every time that you are distracted from a task it takes you twice as long to get back to the task at hand.
“Percentage wise, it is 100% easier not to do things than to do them, and so much fun not to do them.”
— John Mulaney
This is even true on a physiological level. One study found that office distractions eat an average 2.1 hours a day. Another study, published in October 2005, found that employees spent an average of 11 minutes on a project before being distracted. After an interruption it takes them 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they do at all. People switch activities every three minutes, either making a call, speaking with someone in their cubicle, or working on a document.
Yes, I Know My Enemy.
“Yes, I know my enemy.
They’re the teachers who taught me to fight me.
Compromise. Conformity. Assimilation. Submission.”
— Rage Against the Machine
Now that we have taken the time to get to know our enemy, next we need to know how to defeat it. And defeat it we shall.
Look for my next blog post in October on how we are going to take down the beast of Procrastination once and for all.
If you’d like to go back and read my series, The Subtle Yet Insidious Power of Procrastination from the beginning feel free to start from Part 1: The Primal Parent of Procrastination.
Thank you so much for reading. :)
Sean M. Doran