What Distractions Are
And the power over distractedness.
The overarching point is that what we think of as “distractions”, aren’t the ultimate causes of us being distracted. They’re the places we go to seek relief from the discomfort of confronting limitation. - Oliver Burkman, Four Thousand Weeks
As an illustrator, the job is to spend the limited time between now and the deadline, to produce the best illustration possible with our limited skill. If we confront this limitation, we can get on with the task at hand.
Distractions are the places we go to avoid our limitations.
Instead of working on the challenging project, we might spend the day on good distractions looking for the perfect brush. (I just suddenly can’t work without this imaginary perfect brush) Or sign up for yet another online class to help us finally discover our illustration style. (Enrollment ends soon) Or go to the bookshop in search of inspiration. (There’s a sale)
By thinking of distractions as places we go, rather than things that are acting on us. We shift the blame and responsibility back to ourselves.
This awareness is power over our distractedness.
Write a list of 10 (or 100) “Distractions” you might be tempted to visit in the coming week. Instead of going there, try to apply yourself to the important thing you know needs doing instead. Choose confrontation vs temporary avoidance.
This weekend I finished reading, “4000 weeks: time and how to use it”.
The book reminds us that; You’ll never get “It all done”. You’ll be dead before that.
The best we can do; is to do what matters most, and learn to deal with the discomfort that life is short and we need to make painful decisions about how to use it.