Who distracts you the most?

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2012 by GTD Times Staff

Who distracts you the most? You might say it’s your boss, your coworkers, or your kids.  But maybe it’s the software you’re using.

“The biggest impediment to concentration is your computer’s ecosystem of interruption technologies: IM, email alerts, RSS alerts, Skype rings, etc. Anything that requires you to wait for a response, even subconsciously, occupies your attention. Anything that leaps up on your screen to announce something new, occupies your attention.”

That’s from “Writing in the Age of Distraction,” posted three three years ago, and still applicable in 2012.  Even if you downloaded your iPhone and Android productivity apps today, they will waste your time tomorrow unless you take control of them now.

Has your software improved your productivity as the world has become more distracting? Or is your software programmed to grab your attention in alarming ways that make your time-management job harder?


5 Responses to “Who distracts you the most?”

  1. William says:

    The last two free apps I got pushed ads at me right away. I deleted them and tightened up my privacy in facebook and spam filter in email.

  2. Dan says:

    I stopped checking my lists incessantly and trying to “prioritize”. I focus instead on collection – the simple act of getting something off my mind. During the day I collect inputs by sending stuff to my OmniFocus Inbox. At a later time I process my stuff and do a Weekly Review. Most of my time is spent doing for which a quick glance at my lists is all that is needed. Turns out collection and processing is far more important than constantly checking and tinkering with my lists. I suffer little from distraction when I work this way…

  3. sue says:

    The news…I just can’t get enough…so not get enough done.

  4. gmc says:

    Myself, i consistently disable all pop-ups or on-screen displays of all those communication tools. I will check skype, rss, twitter or whatever when i’m takimg a break. Not when i’m focussed on a task.

  5. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC says:

    Technology! Can’t live without it – can’t shoot the “constant improvement” folks!

    I find marketing pop-ups (etc) incredibly intrusive and narcissistic, at their base (i.e., I don’t CARE what you came here to do, my desire to sell you something is important enough to keep you from concentrating on it).

    HOWEVER, ongoing updates due to software “improvements” (*especially* those that change the user interface in the process) make me crazy! [er] – ::grin:

    Aside from the interruption of my “to-do” via the pop up notice that there is an update, as a touch typist, updates with user-interface changes debit speed of accomplishment as thoroughly as rearranging my computer keys nightly might! (ITunes is HORRIBLE about that, as an example.)

    I wouldn’t update if I could know in advance that I wouldn’t be able to work effectively until I learned the new interface – in fact, I’m usually the last of my friends & colleagues to accept an update (just about the time a NEW “new update” popup starts annoying me).

    Great article – linked to one of mine in the Intentional Attending Series on my ADD-focused WordPress Blog, ADDandSoMuchMore.com – search for “ABOUT Distractions” to check it out.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    (blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore, ADDerWorld & ethosconsultancynz – dot com)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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