Distraction is focus and productivity's worst enemy. However, quickly indulging the distraction, or simply having the option to, could be the best way to rid you of your impulses and get back to the task at hand.
Photo by Christopher
Rebecca A. Watson shares the idea of "distraction passes" at WorkAwesome:
Decide how many you need. I have three. I know, here I am telling you how to avoid your distractions and then I turn around and say, "Yes, do it!" What kind of mixed messages are these?
It's because sometimes things just won't leave your brain. And they're so distracting that your work suffers. This works two ways.
Sometimes we just need to get something out of our system — reply to that personal email — and then we can continue to work. Or often we can tell ourselves to ignore the dirty dishes and continue to work, because we'll handle them later with one of our three distraction passes.
This exercise makes you more aware of how distracted you usually are, especially when you use up your passes. If you regularly find that you don't have enough passes, consider giving yourself more than three.
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