Chris Hannah

Staying Productive on Distracted Days

Cal Newport:

I don’t normally spend much time reading information online, so I definitely noticed this morning the unusual degree to which I was distracted by breaking election news. This points to an interesting question that I’ve seen discussed in some articles in recent days: what’s the best way to keep getting things done on truly distracting days?My answer: don’t.

Cal Newport is the author of many books relating to reducing distractions and focussing on deep work. So when the above question is posed to him. you may expect a very long and informational response. But instead, he has a very quick, and somewhat surprising answer.

But his short answer, along with his reasoning afterwards, resonate with me quite a lot. Mainly that not every day needs to be a day where you knock loads of things off your to-do list. Some times you need a rest, you need to focus your mind on something different, or maybe you just have something else you need to deal with.

Sometimes I go through patches where I want to be “productive” all through the day, every day of the week. But very soon, I realise that is just isn’t sustainable. What is sustainable though, is allowing yourself to rest, have fun, and not feel like you always have to be achieving something. Because when you do choose to get to work, you go at it full of energy, and ready to really dive into your work.


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