Have you ever started doing work or something important and gotten distracted by your phone or your laptop? Do you feel like every time you sit down to do work, you are automatically attracted to one of your devices? You are not alone, it happens to us all.
This week’s readings made me do a lot of self reflection. How often do I pick up my phone or check my notifications while I am trying to do work? Honestly, I don’t think I want to know the answer. It takes me three times as long to get my work done because I allow myself to be distracted.
This week’s readings were about how to do work without being distracted. If that is even possible in this day and age. According to the articles it is possible, but you have to be able to disconnect yourself from everything. You need to be able to put your phone away, turn off your notifications on your laptop if that’s where you are working, and you need to fully immerse yourself in what you are doing. This week’s readings were about how to do work without being distracted. If that is even possible in this day and age.
The book, Deep Work by Cal Newport discusses an equation of how to produce the best work. It is High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus).
I don’t know if I agree with this equation. I think that yes you might be able to create the best work with this equation, but I also think that distractions are sometimes necessary. If you look at the same sentence or problem for too long your mind can alter it into something it is not. So, I think that yes you can create the best kind of work if you shut everything off and focus on yourself and your work. However, I also believe that you need to take breaks. If you work for an hour nonstop and then take a 10-minute break. You are more ready and prepared to work hard again after taking breaks. An article written by Neil Patal called When, How, and How Often To Take a Break discusses the advantages of taking breaks while doing work and it uses multiple studies to back up their reasons.
Deep Work has made me rethink how I do work and how I look at my devices. I used to see my devices as an extension of myself. But now, I am starting to think that they don’t necessarily hinder me but they do make it harder for me to focus. They are a constant.
This tied into the other readings this week because it brought up the discussion of putting everything aside. The reading I Have Forgotten How To Read by Michael Harris discusses the changing of how people read. I love reading, I read personal books more often than I read for school, so I don’t necessarily agree with what Harris says. I definitely don’t agree that you should write on the pages of books. From a very young age I’ve always thought that you should never write or doggy ear pages because they ruin the book. They make the book look used. I love the smell of new books, so when people make them feel used, they feel cheap to me.
Harris wrote, “I know I’m not reading less, but I also know I’m reading worse.” I didn’t think I understood what he meant until I self reflected. We are surrounded by a society that reads tweets and posts all day long. We are clearly reading however, our actual reading has gone worse because we now use shortcuts and we make everything as easy for ourselves as possible. We try to use the least amount of effort and attention to understand and get things done.