Over the past few months, ever since reading The Creative Habit and Making Ideas Happen, I’ve thought a bunch about focus and what it can do for your work. I wrote about interruption, distraction, focus techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, and how losing focus is the enemy of productivity.Something I just noticed recently was that interruptions come in different sizes. While focus is usually either “on” or “off”, interruptions can come in different forms and have different consequences to productive work. Take for example getting distracted at the office. Getting interrupted at the office is common, if you’ve read Rework than you’ve heard how offices are usually good at preventing you from work and instead promote interruption and distraction. Getting focus is hard to do in environments like that. Everything is a distraction, and because of it you eventually stop noticing how many interruptions to productive work happen. Something that happened to me recently jolted me into thinking about how while some interruptions are pleasant, like welcomed escapes from work, most just kill your creativity, your energy, and your mood. Last week I had an application I was using on my phone crash while writing a blog post. Good apps don’t crash often, but it still happens, and in an environment like iOS where your app is your whole interface with the device, a crash means your whole experiences gets interrupted. What I realized on the bus was that having an application crash on me while I was in a writing flow really sucked. I felt anger, and I felt frustrated that I wouldn’t be able to write down my idea again as it was originally. I still count it as a interruption to productive work though. And energy spent getting angry about a interruption is unproductive.
Get back up as quickly as you can into a productive stance after you take a hit.
After a while you’ll start to train yourself to resist them. You’ll start to feel less and less affected by those interruptions.