“From the point of view of mindfulness, there is really no such thing as a distraction.” Mindfulness in Plain English, p119

Many of us can get lost, moving from one idea to another, never truly getting much done. Particularly in creative works, where a playful flow of ideas is critical, what would otherwise be a beneficial flow can get us lost in the thickets of some dead end tributary. Also, when we are regularly interrupted by internal and external forces, it can be hard to maintain any bearings when the turbulent conditions have us feeling as though there were no bearings to begin with.

A difficulty with managing distraction is that we may not realize something is a distraction until after the fact. In the middle of work or play, pausing to make that recognition is not always habitual.

The first phase of a session is Decision. (See Being Productive module 2) In this first phase, we pause, giving ourselves time to decide what we are about to do. It seems simple, but it is not and can often be forgotten. By making a clear solid decision, not only do we point ourselves in a direction, the process inevitably has us consider what that direction might look like.

We fashion a tether.

For example, while working, we have a firm place to go. when interrupted, we are now more apt to realize that a new decision has presented itself. Still tied to the original intention, we can now decide how to best address the interruption. We might set the interruption aside or close the first intention to pursue it.

Managing our own flow within a willful environment becomes intentional.

All of this is to say, it is useful to:

  • First, pause and reflect upon an action.
  • Then, act.