== Notes to self ==
Not gold alone brought us hither

Antidote to Distractions: Surf the Urge

Recently I came across a nice tip in the book “Indistractable: How To Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” by Nir Eyal. The author asserts that the solution to avoiding distractions is not to abstain from the things that are distracting us but to identify the inner triggers that lead to distraction and manage them instead. This is really powerful because now we can no longer pin the blame for our distractions on their products.

Distraction tricks us into prioritizing the urgent and easy over hard and long term. There are two kinds of triggers: external and internal. According to the author, only 10% of the triggers are external but 90% are internal! Most distractions begin inside, and are usually caused by boredom, fatigue, loneliness, anxiety, stress, etc. And the root cause of distractions is our inability to deal with these discomforts. One tool to avoid distraction is the 10 minute rule. When you are on a task and the urge for distraction strikes, do one of the following:

  1. Tell yourself that you will scratch the urge but not yet. Get back to the task for at least 10 minutes. Generally, the urge subsides and you will be able to continue on your task.
  2. Surf the urge. Literally sit and observe your urge but do not act on it for at least 10 minutes. When we observe the urge, we soon learn that it is like a wave and it subsides soon.

This trick generally works. Definitely worth trying.