Dealing with Digital Distraction
By planting trees?
If you are a writer or know one, you probably know the drill - sit down, open your laptop, and get to work. But before you can even start typing, you're hit with an array of distractions that seem to come from every direction.
First, there's the all-mighty internet, which has definitely ruined our sense of concentration. With its endless sea of information and entertainment, it's like a siren calling you away from your work. Then there's social media, where you can easily waste hours scrolling through your feed, checking notifications, and responding to messages. And let's not forget about emails - they come in faster than you can keep up, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Let me count the ways of distraction:
The "Infinite Scroll" - You start by reading one article. Before you know it, you've spent the last hour scrolling through articles on Wikipedia about the history of macramé or the properties of a certain poisonous substance, which then ends up leaving you wondering which watchlist you might be on.
The "Social Media Black Hole" - You log onto social media for "just a minute," and suddenly, it's an hour later, and you're still scrolling.
The "Email Avalanche" - You open your inbox and are immediately buried under a mountain of unread messages. How did this happen?!
The "Notification Frenzy" - You hear a ding, and before you know it, you've spent the last 10 minutes responding to texts, Slack messages, and email notifications. Or worse, you had turned off your sound notifications but when you go to look up said poisonous substance you are distracted by those same texts, slack messages, and emails and are now back into the black hole or the infinite scroll.
The "Video Rabbit Hole" - You go to watch one video for research, and before you know it, you've spent the last hour watching dozens upon dozens of cat videos and bad cooking TikToks.
The "News Overload" - You start by reading Reddit for some inspiration, and before you know it, you're completely caught up in the latest political drama. And your mood sinks. And sinks. And then sinks further. And your story sinks with you.
The "Online Shopping Frenzy" - You go to Amazon to buy one book for research, and before you know it, you've spent the last hour browsing for nail polish carrying cases and snoring aids.
As a side note, I aim for 400+ words daily when I sit down. Today? 119. Oops.
I’ve tried the Pomodoro method in the past to find focus, and it can be great…when I fully employ it. But I’m not good at consistency.
But I’ve just discovered this app called Forest. It’s essentially a gamified Pomodoro timer, and well, I do love myself a good game (that’s a blog post for another time). And in Forest you grow a tree during your Pomodoro time (25 minutes). If you check your phone or, using the Chrome extension, check certain websites, your tree withers and dies. And the cool thing is that when you grow trees, the company actually helps plant real ones, partnering with Trees for the Future. If you want to try your hand using Forest, they did give me a handy dandy code which gives me some sort of “time crystals” that I think spare my poor plant if I mess up. Code: 4JFHEYSSG
I waste the most time on my desktop, but I’m guessing a big chunk of you probably struggle with phone addiction. Executive coach and writer Steve Schlaf wrote about digital detoxing and taking back his life from his screen. He uses an app called Opal which monitors screen time.
But that leads me to my biggest digital distraction dilemma. My job! It’s in social media and I actually NEED to go to Instagram and LinkedIn and YouTube and Pinterest to develop the courses I do. Oh, the conundrum.
Are you in the U.S.? Share Your Opinions About Reading
If you are looking for a productive distraction, a couple of friends of mine are starting an independent publishing house and are doing some research to help them inform their plans. If you are in the U.S. and take their survey, you’ll have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Bookshop.org. You have until 11:59 tomorrow ET, Feb. 17th, to respond.
What’s Bringing Me Joy This Week:
I talked a lot about bread in my last post. So it was rather apropos that I came across this amazing video of a British bakery in 1962 documenting how they make a bunch of different types of breads. Absolutely fascinating.
This 1949 pen and ink drawing of two dancers by Salvador Dalí warms my heart.
I’m a huge Blondie fan, and found this mashup between boy band BTS and Blondie blissful.
And finally, this little baby sugar glider…oh my!!
Thanks for joining me this week! If you haven’t read THE CHEF’S SECRET or FEAST OF SORROW, click the links to learn where to buy your copy! 🍒🍗🍷
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