August 19, 2022

Welcome distractions

Some days I get to work from home. It’s not often or to a regular pattern, but one thing I have noticed is that the ‘distraction-pull’ is no greater or less than being in the office – which appears (from reading other’s observations about WFH) somewhat odd.

After all, home is where all the important stuff is and work, is, well where you should be concentrating, right?

Home = distraction. Work = concentration.

Issue is the effect of the former’s surroundings – the familiar and familial, as opposed to that place you go to do the day job – seem to provide more comfort. Not the loafing-on-the-sofa kind, thanks, but more of the easier to stay focussed sort. The result is I tend to work longer days at home; and find it easier to concentrate…

…which does present a challenge when it comes to this writing thing (and the creative thing, come to that.) It seems to thrive on distraction. A sort of super-compressed kind of concentration. I’m concentrated, ha ha!

If you’ve a problem concentration (Hey! You!) some in Occupational Therapy believe that not only should you take frequent breaks, but more importantly to schedule them to focus the brain work. And there’s good evidence that for some, this does work, namely from studies of the Pomodoro Technique (and especially the 52 minutes on, 17 minutes off variation apparently) and there are plenty of other tools and techniques for ‘helping’ lower the distraction levels.

But maybe you’re not one of those people (the people who stick in the gears of time management) and full productivity for you is picking things up and down, standing up, and down, making more coffee, making another trip to the fridge.

A wonky work ethic works for me as it makes it harder to start obsessing about something and spiral into a crisis of confidence and then all the questions (’Is this any good?’ ‘What the hell is this crap?’ ‘Why can’t I think of something?’) which bring things grinding to a halt.

I’m easily snagged (which I guess make me super-susceptible to any old engagement bait) and maybe you’re fighting it (fail. You’re reading this. Shouldn’t you be getting on with those banner ad comps?) but it’s distraction that’s working for me.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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