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> Environment Free of Distraction
Too Much Is Eventually Enough
List of PrinciplesTo create an environment free of distraction, all you have to do, of course, is find everything distracting in your environment and remove it. So, although I've formulated this essay as a list of principles, you can equally well think of it as a list of distractions you might consider removing.
What does it mean for something to be a distraction? The Latin derivation is instructive: “distraction” is made up of the prefix “dis-”, meaning “away”, plus the verb “traho”, “I pull” or “I drag”. (Incidentally, the corresponding subjective noun is “tractor”.) Thus, a distraction is something that drags away … specifically, something that drags your attention away from where it was before.
To pull your attention away, a distraction has to make you aware of it, i.e., interrupt you using one of your senses. Some senses, though, are more troublesome than others. Just for example, suppose you're sitting in front of a computer, writing an essay. In this situation, touch and taste are hardly even in play. I can imagine being distracted by smell, but it rarely happens; the big offenders, then, are sight and hearing.
Here I'll restrict myself to talking about visual distraction; mostly, in fact, to a specific kind of visual distraction, distraction by words. I don't know if I speak for everyone, but for me reading isn't even a voluntary activity any more—if my eyes are focused on words, the associated concepts appear in my mind whether I want them to or not. I find this far more distracting than looking at almost anything else. It's worse if the words are short, in large print, or in bright colors … not coincidentally, the kind of words used in advertising. If I wrote, say, the word “beer” (or, worse, “BEER”) on my wall, every time I looked at it I'd be reminded of beer, and if my train of thought were fragile, it might be completely disrupted.
Finally, after all that preamble, here's the disappointingly short list.
OK, here's one more.
Environment Free of Distraction
Separation Effect, The
What Is Best?
@ June (2000)
o July (2013)