Ironically, distraction could sometimes be a good thing! When writing thoughts and ideas, you can almost get a fresh perspective when returning back, but of course, this is better if planned, not just at any old time. Sometimes when we step away from something and, we come back to what we were doing very productively. This can work well with someone who works well in spurts. It is also good to break up into focus periods. A big task may not be done all at once, so defining a period of time to split it up.
While there are occasions where unplanned distraction can help, still most of the time a distraction, especially coming from a source outside of what you are focusing on will derail you and keep you away from what you need to do. The better form of distraction to discuss here is the planned distraction. We live in a time where everyone is always getting distracted by social media, email, text messages, phone calls, etc. It is important that we do have a channel for these distractions, otherwise we will be itching to reach for our phone, itching to read something not related to what you are doing, or seeking to talk to someone else in the office/room/house, etc. Planning your “distractions” is a good strategy to be more productive. Therefore they are not distractions anymore, but are planned and scheduled activities that you value, just like anything else. It is important that we get on social media, talk to people, read things that interest us, etc. They just need to be scheduled at the right time so they don’t interfere with our productivity.
In fact there are very good methods that actually use this practice. For example, one is the Pomodoro Technique. This is basically working for a set amount of time and then leaving another set amount of time for distraction, relaxation, doing other things that require less thoughts. For example, work 50 minutes, then off 10, then repeat again and again throughout the day. Like anything else, you need to find the balance that works best for you. Also, the entire point of this is to have an extremely focused period of time while actually working. In the above example, it’s focused work for the 50 minutes, then 10 minutes to check email, social media, check the news (if you are daring), take a walk, talk to someone if you are in an office/co-working space/place where others are present. Segmenting your time is a good thing because it gives you something to focus on. You can easily schedule whatever works however you do it, whether it’s on Google Calendar, on paper, in a planner, or whatever else works best for you. This is one option to boost productivity. Not everyone has a schedule that allows for something like this, they pretty much work non-stop except for bathroom breaks and lunch. That is how a lot of jobs do work at this time. However, if you are blessed with the ability to work with your own schedule and not have a lot of urgent items, then this is a great method to try. Let me know if any of you have tried this and what your experience has been.