Being Productive in the Age of Distraction
Information, entertainment, and social interaction have never been more instant or accessible than they are today. While all this data and activity certainly benefits society and allows us to progress at an astonishing rate, it also can be distracting and may prevent us from reaching our potential. So what must we do to be productive in this age of distraction?
First, we can regulate our social media use. In my experience, social media is one of the biggest distractions out there. That is why I have essentially cut it out of my life (with the exception of Instagram which acts as a platform for sharing my photography). Cutting down on my social media usage has freed up time, and it has also restored my focus. When I use social media too much, it effects me even when I am not on it. It distracts my mind, preventing me from being able to hold it on one continuous train of thought. The same is true of television, video games, and other forms of media.
Additionally, it is imperative that we seek silence and solitude. I do not think that it is coincidence that the world’s longest lasting religions all recommend some form of meditation or at least encourage time spent in solitude. Disconnecting allows us to process information and events. It also gives us an opportunity to recharge so that we can perform tasks with a renewed vigor.
Lastly, our lifestyle has a huge impact on our performance. The food we eat, how much we sleep, and how active we are all play a role in our ability to concentrate and get things done. If your body isn’t getting the nutrition that it needs in order to function, you won’t be able to perform well. If you are not allowing your body to rest and revitalize itself, you will quickly find your productivity declining. Whether you know it or not, exercise also plays a role. People who maintain an active lifestyle are better able to focus, they have more endurance, and they are more creative.
In order to be productive in the midst of so many distractions, we must regulate our focus, find time to process information, and take care of bodies so that they can perform at their best. Self control is key. You will not be productive if you stay up binge-watching The Walking Dead or checking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I learned that the hard way.