Distraction: How does it work and how we can stay focused

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Distraction has a big impact on people's work and lives. Lots of stuff from health and nutrition to habits and workflows.

We should all be exercising and increasing blood flow to the brain. For example, going on a walk for lunch increases concentration and happiness.

Staying hydrated; drinking less coffee and more water.

Your brain runs on fat. Eating fish and healthy oils helps your brain operate more efficiently.

"Smart Herbs": ginsing, gotokoa. Often aphrodisiacs overlap with these uses because they increase bloodflow.

How to exercise: having a harm reduction outlook: start small with things that moves you in the right direction. get up out of your desk, go for walks, anything to be less sedentary.

Interruptions and distraction management during the workday. Browser Blockers, Freedom, "a work profile" that is stripped down just for work. Being mindful of who else is in the room. Developing good habits

Pomodoro as a technique for focused work. "I'm going to code for 15 minutes; then I'm going for a walk for 10 minutes". "When I was a smoker, I would reward myself for working 30 minutes." Value of beginning a period of work with a clear intent and focus. Be mindful of when you get distracted and use that to take a break. It can be hard to stick to because of external stimulus; it was helpful to casually inform coworkers for example "I will be working on Project X between 10 and noon today".

Had a staff meeting in which people made signs with "Please don't interrupt me" signs

Being proactive and intentional with others was empowering.

Can be challenging if you like other people and you like solving problems with people face to face. From a permaculture perspective, that can be your superpower.

Start your day by planning a specific/defined set of work that you want to accomplish. For example: Some days have customer service where you have lots of little tickets that you close and you feel great. And other days you do SysAdmin work where you have these big projects that carry forward. Crossing items off the todo list feels really good.

Rightsizing to-do list items so that they're doable (avoid "Launch website"). When you think about all of the little things you have done, it can be really satisfying.

Avoid going into an Internet Vortex in which you just surf Facebook for a really long time. Notice what's happening and write down what the distraction is.

Two activities to do: - At end of day, write out the 3 things you need to do the following day - At beginning of day, write down the things you accomplished the previous day

How to develop habits and stick to it: - It's difficult to get ToDo lists to stick because it's just a list of anxieties of projects that you've never finished. It's necessary to instead get to the aspect of accomplishment and moving forward. - In the first three days, helpful to find a friend who will check-in with you and challenge you to keep doing it. Or make a bet. "Acountabilibuddy" - Know yourself of when during the day that you're most productive - Sometimes it's better to write things down, and that itself is an accomplishment

   Philosophies and Tools:
   Getting Things Done (GTD)
   Mind mapping
   Having a public work long "ToDone" on Github with links to work. Helpful to look back on.
   Zapier to automate information to slack and google docs. 
   Slack Reminders "/remind me at 2pm"
   Basecamp and Campfire
   Hard paper notebook and a bullet journal
   Weekly accountability group
   Post-Its on a board. Really nice to have physical actions.
   Google Keep

Photo of appropriately distracting visitor