Day 17 - Reducing Distraction
Diana is the Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). Called by the LA Times “one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness,” she has taught mindfulness in the US and Asia since 1999 in hospitals, universities, corporations, non-profits.
In the 1990’s the business world was connecting - first via local area networks, then wide area networks, then the internet. The prevailing wisdom was that the best work was collaborative, and the best ideas were generated around the water cooler or coffee pot.
There’s a lot of truth in that, for sure. But some unintended consequences of that era are the crazy distraction we have now in wide-open plan office spaces - the “always-connected to every detail of every project in real-time” ethos - and the compulsion to pivot to every incoming message - that keeps us multi-tasking and in the shallows. The casualties have been focus, concentration and the ability to do deep work.
Distraction is the productivity-killing offspring of the attention economy - and mindfulness is simply the most effective response. By noticing distraction, coming to the present, bringing our attention to the body and breath - we dampen distraction, send it to the background - while we intentionally choose the most important and strategic subject for our attention.