Undistracted

Trailhead: Oliver Burkeman. "The truth about distraction". The Imperfectionist (2021-05-xx).

I’m constantly amazed at how low the threshold is, for me – how just a tiny feeling of being challenged or tired or bored, while doing something I really want to do, is enough for me to leap eagerly away to fritter an hour on social media instead.

I appreciate the reframing. Facebook, et al, aren't trying to trick you into coming to their site to burn your time—you're going to them because you'd rather be there than whatever else it is you were doing. And then when you're there they've invested billions of dollars into making the visit last forever.

There are no tricks to staying away—no self help books, no pills, no shortcuts. If a trip to Facebook is less bad than whatever else you were doing, you're going to think about it, consciously or unconsciously. When it's there in your mind it's going to itch until you go and scratch it, which may not take long at all.

I don't have any populist angst against social media. I don't use it too often anymore. What I write, I write here. I don't keep the apps on my phone. That alone seems to keep out from being an uncontrollable habit for me.

Granted I still waste an enormous amount of time. The only time I don't seem to be wasting too much time is when I'm outside working in the yard where there aren't any other options for distraction —but it's not just that, it's also that I choose to be out there, and finishing the work on the wall and garden is something I really want to do, so there isn't that much opportunity for the itch to start. I'm not sure if that's a general rule, but it's worth a shot: have something worth working on.

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