Distraction often is cited as getting in the way of focus or work. Productivity experts claim that it steals our precious time when it could be used more meaningfully. Deadlines or due dates try to push distractions out of our life so that we could finish our work when expected.
But there are times when distraction is good for us to pursue. It is when we are able to enjoy time off from our work or direct responsibilities. Not by today’s definition of being connected by phone and computer wherever you are.
Distraction is valuable when it fully immerses us in something outside of our daily routine and responsibilities. A night out with friends where active conversation and laughter make time go by so quickly. A weekend getaway where you are busy from morning to night. Reading a novel (non-work related) where your mind wants to turn the page before you ever get there.
No emails. No phone calls. Distraction where you willingly say that things can wait for tomorrow or Monday morning after a wonderful weekend away. Then finding upon your return energy and clarity giving you the strength to once again persevere. There is a phenomenon of feeling rested even though you dedicated your distracted time to being busy.
Have you ever been on a vacation where there were things to see and places to go? Much different than going to a resort and laying on the beach all week with little interest in doing anything but relaxing. Both types of vacations have their place.
I tend to like distracted time that is immersive. For it pushes to the side everything that I am thinking about that is work-related. Letting issues “simmer” before returning to them again. Giving me a greater opportunity to relax by essentially “forcing me” to alter my focus and attention in different ways.
This type of distracted time could actually lead you to be both more productive as well as effective. Stepping away from something and then returning to it can bring both clarity and curiosity to look at things differently before acting on them.
If you have experienced distracted time that was of value, great. If not, choose to try it. You may feel guilty at first that you will leave something until tomorrow or the following Monday. Over time, you will find that not everything is urgent. Making life a much “longer game” than we make it out to be in the moment.