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BOOK EXCERPT on Productivity (pt. 1): How to *Eliminate Distraction* | Conquer Yourself, pgs. 62-64

5 February 2014 No Comment

Here’s a quick excerpt from my book, How to Conquer Yourself: Discipline & Willpower for the Conscious, Creative Thinker. To get two (2) full chapters – completely FREE – scroll down. To hear client feedback and testimonials thus far, click here and for personally-autographed copies, delivered extra-fast, use this paypal link.

Productivity Principle #1: ELIMINATE DISTRACTION (Ch. 5)

“Jay-Z once said, ‘Sometimes I don’t even stop to give people autographs, because if I were to do that, I’d never get where I’m going,’ which, metaphorically, is a wise attitude to embrace, because if you stop to ‘sign autographs’ (as in, address every upcoming concern), you’ll never ‘get where you’re going’ (where your aspirations require you to be) either.

He said this on a documentary covering The Hard-Knock Life Tour of 1999, which was, again, before social networks and pervasive cell-phone use even existed. With today’s influx of web-technology, we’ve each become like miniature celebrities in our own right, and so we each have to manage our own share of distraction, interruption, endless correspondence and lack of privacy as well.

Jay Z rapper signing autographs

If you get nothing else from this chapter, remember that while the amount of time and energy you have is finite, the amount of demands being placed on your time and energy are virtually infinite…there’s literally no end to how much people can ask of you, intrude on you or otherwise subtract or deduct from your ability to focus. This being so, the first key principle for raising productivity, particularly when it comes to creative work, is to eliminate distraction; to simply stop allowing yourself to be distracted.

Once you have a specific task or objective in mind, stop letting random, trivial interruptions prevent you from doing it, because distraction and interruption rob us of more productivity than just about any other single factor.

What Distractions Do (& How to Deal with Them):

“Distractions not only take you off track and disturb your train of thought, they take you so off track that it typically require two to three-times as long to establish the original concentration you had before you were disturbed to begin with, which, again, is simple assassination for anything artistic.

Even further, distraction not only prevents you from getting important things done within a reasonable space of time; it can also, very easily, become a habitual pattern that leaves you incapable of accomplishing anything significant whatsoever.

Seriously, take some to reflect on this and you’ll realize that every time you allow yourself to be interrupted by a trivial concern, you actually pay for that interruption with a piece of your future. In a sense, every meaningless distraction, every tweet, IM message and email notice, is “purchased” by sacrificing a small fragment of your most significant goal, in the same way your long-term wealth is sacrificed with every insignificant purchase and impulse buy.

You need to focus, so learn to set up an environment that allows you to systematically shut out distraction and interruption at will. Once it’s time to get started…

>> turn off your email alerts and social network notifications

>> sign out of Facebook and Skype

>> put your cellphone on mute

>> let the important people in your life know you won’t be available

>> wake up much earlier than they do

>> physically leave the places you normally occupy (libraries and coffee shops are great for this)

…and so on. Always minimize the effect of interruptions by keeping them brief of course, but don’t stop there: whenever you find yourself getting distracted from your work, by anything, engineer a way to systematically prevent that distraction from ever happening again.

Always think about how you can set up a creative environment or an artistic space that naturally shelters your attention span for you; that allows you to focus and concentrate without consciously attempting to do so.” ~ pg. 62-64 of How to Conquer Yourself


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