This Christmas: Not Everything That Interrupts Us Is A Distraction

You know who you are:  you’re running around, stressed out, worried about gifts, frantic, and overwhelmed. We actually get a bit angry and snap at anyone who interrupts our list of things to do before Christmas.  But I saw a Twitter post yesterday that brought me back to reality:  “2016 was the worst,” declares an alive human using a mobile device on WiFi while eating food and drinking clean water in warm house.”  Yes, distractions are frustrating for us productive types. We live in the most distracted age in the history of the world. If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know the stats – we’re checking our email incessantly, focused on social media, always driven by the fear that we might just be missing something. In fact, in my experience over the last decade, most people don’t fail because they’re not qualified, don’t work hard enough, or are incompetent. Today, most people fail simply because

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Distractions Are Killing Your Creativity

Here’s the facts:  A University of California, Irvine study revealed that employees working in open-plan offices (cubicles or around big tables) were interrupted 63% of their time at work. (63%!)  Employees with offices were interrupted 49% of the time. After each interruption, it took 25 minutes for the cubicle employees and 26 minutes for the office employees to get back on track. However, typically, employees turned to 2.26 OTHER tasks before getting back to the original task from which they had been interrupted. Which means,

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The New Rules for Surviving in the Age of Clutter

I have a friend who’s life is defined by “busy.” He doesn’t really accomplish much, and I think that’s why he’s embraced an identity of always being busy.  He can’t talk without complaining how busy he is, he starts most of his emails with “I’ve been so busy recently that…,” and he never seems to have time to read a book, reflect, or think. It’s another symptom of this disrupted culture we live in. So if you occasionally feel overwhelmed and can’t really define why, here’s a few new rules for living in the constant “on” culture:

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Creatives: Don’t Be Distracted By Your Tools

Creative people love great tools. I just bought a new HD display screen for my computer, so I get it. Michelangelo spent enormous time and effort to find the best materials to mix into paint. Great artists throughout history were obsessed with the right brushes, the best marble, new typewriters, fine musical instruments, and the latest motion picture film. Today, it’s

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Forget Your Ability If You Can’t Get Visibility

In today’s hyper-competitive, distracted culture, it’s time we realized that it’s not the customer’s job to find you, donate to your cause, or buy your product, it’s your job to find them. I was in a meeting with a business group the other day and one of the board members vented in frustration: “We’ve been producing an incredible product for decades! Why aren’t people buying it?” I told him that’s analog thinking from yesterday. In the old days 90% of the battle was

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An iPhone, a Banyan Tree, and the Power of Distraction

We recently went on a family vacation to Hawaii, and while on the island of Maui, we spent an afternoon in old town Lahaina. In the center of town is an magnificent Banyan tree that’s more than a hundred years old. There was a craft fair going on under it’s widespread branches so there were lots of people milling about. I noticed that one young tourist in particular was stunned at the size and beauty of the tree. She’d never seen one, so she immediately

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Some Distractions Can Actually Help You Be More Creative

Today, the world is filled with distractions. Email and social media are two of the biggest culprits that rob creative people of focused concentration. There’s also listening to music, watching TV, or allowing people to interrupt your work. I’ve written plenty on this blog about how to avoid distractions, but to be fair, I need to mention that certain distractions can actually help creativity. The fact is,

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