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The problem with distrac……. oh look a squirrel

Posted by putsimply on 8th October 2010

On Twitter earlier this week I spotted a few people tweeting a link to a good story in the New Yorker titled, “Later – What does procrastination tell us about ourselves?”

This appeared in my browser on Tuesday and despite getting as far as the second paragraph I still haven’t read the whole thing. To quote South Park, “If irony was made of strawberries, we’d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now.”

The problem many of us face is that there’s simply too much going on. At EML we get over 100 emails a day on average (and I know compared to journalists this isn’t that much) but every time I see the new mail pop up I have real issues ignoring it. Then there’s Twitter, which if left running on your desktop can be a monumental distraction at the best of times. At the time of writing this I’m also listening to music, keeping half an ear (not literally, that would just be weird) on a conversation next to me and behind me is a TV showing BBC News.

So how on earth does anyone who works on a computer ever get anything done? Charlie Brooker’s column from last month hit the nail on the head – and it might be the future. He spoke about the Pomodo Technique, “Put simply, it’s a method for retraining your attention span. You set a kitchen timer, and try to work without interruption for 25 minutes. Then you take a five-minute break. Then you work for another 25 minutes.”

He might be onto something, granted in an office keeping free of distractions is nigh on impossible, but next time I’m up against a deadline or have that big article to write, I might just turn off email, Twitter and dare I say it… the internet. What’s the worst that could happen?