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Distracted from what?

I was listening to Nir Eyal talk to Shane Parrish on The Knowledge Project Podcast today about distractions and being indistractable (Nir has a book by this title), and heard a lot of things that reinforced what I've written before on this blog and follow with my weekly schedule. 

While talking about being distracted, Nir describes the etymology of the word. Traction is when we are taking actions that pull us in the direction of our goals. Distraction is when we are taking actions that pull us away from our goals. 

Therefore, in order to be distracted, we need to have clear goals that we are pursuing. Without that, there is no such thing as distraction. Because there is nothing to be distracted from.

For the past many years, I've been planning my weeks where I allocate blocks of time to be spent on things I think will help move me towards my goals. And when something else comes up along the way as a demand on that time, I always know what I'm giving up in order to say yes to the momentary demand on my time.

When you plan time blocks, all you need is to adhere to the time blocks and ask yourself, "Did I spend the entire time I allocated to do a certain thing, doing only that and nothing else?"

Checking and responding to email can feel productive. Reading insightful articles can feel productive. Listening to a podcast can feel productive. But if that's not what I intended to do with that time, then these are merely distractions. 

Do you know what you're being distracted from?

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