Jason Berek-Lewis Founder, Healthy Startups
Notifications, @ replies, DMs, SMSes, Likes, +1s, new podcasts, emails, reminders, finely filtered Instagrams, LoL cats, the next Gangnam Style, Foursquare check ins (does anyone still use Foursquare?), RSS deluges, YouTube, memes, Angry Birds, app updates and more... Welcome to the distraction economy, where we get 'paid'/ 'rewarded' for our lack of focus, we live for the next hit, we crave the crush of content and delectable digital delights to alleviate us from the boredom of... well... loving, living and achieving.
Entrepreneurs and the double edged despair of distraction fatigue
Why build something, achieve new heights, change the world when you can watch someone else do it in real time, just by following their Tweet stream and YouTube channel?
Why build something, achieve new heights, change the world when chances are no one else will notice because they are too busy retweeting the latest pic of Kim Kardashian's latest pedicure?
Why even bother trying if you are convinced that the builder of the Next Big Thing will be half your age?
You don't become an entrepreneur/ startup founder by being distracted by TechCrunch, Mashable, On Startups or even this blog (but I don't want you to go away just yet! Please be distracted enough to click on one of the Google ads displayed to your right...). You won't build the next Instagram meets Gowalla meets Highlight meets Vine meets Snapchat by losing yourself in the 'stream economy' (hat tip to Gary Vaynerchuk).
Crush your distractions!
How do you beat your distractions? Here are some of the tactics and tools that I am trying...
- Go outside (oh, the horror!) and exercise without your phone. I know we are all healthy cyborgs now, but do we really need to track how far we walk/ cycle/ run? Isn't it more important to just do it?
- Turn off the notifications on your phone/ tablet/ browser - or at least cut off the 'chime' that rings out everytime something happens
- Better yet, actually turn off your phone and tablet for a period each day - my suggestion is don't turn your devices on until you have crossed 1 - 3 things off your (OMG they are always digital!) to do list. I give you the OK to check your Todoist or Any.Do online
- Set, and stick to, rules for each part of your day. Check your (insert distraction vice here) as a reward for completing a piece of work
- If possible, actually meet with your team, face to face and outside the office, over a cup of cofee. And don't bring your devices! Get someone to take notes in one of these (apologies if you are 20 or younger and have no idea what hard copy paper is)
- Turn off your devices before you go to bed. If you are in a relationship, there are sweeter games to play in bed than Candy Crush Saga!
I could well be one of the most distracted people online. I know I need to crush my distractions so that I can Crush It!
How do you escape the double edged despair of distraction fatigue? Share your tips below!