You are the One Who Knocks

Interruptions come from within

Instant notifications. People who equate texting and calling. People thinking it is strange that you put your phone on Do Not Disturb, weird that you purposely leave your phone in a different room. The trend towards open offices. The acceptability of knocking and asking questions that can be Googled. The expectation that an e-mail will not only be answered, but acted upon, in mere hours if not minutes.

We live in a short term world. There’s no doubt about it.

The truth, however, is that more often than not, what seems to be an external interruption (the knock at the door, the text, the early-morning e-mail) is actually internal.The true enemy of our productivity isn’t the short term world and the obnoxious people in it… the true enemy is ourselves.

This is because, after the knock, ping, or beep, there is a moment in which you make a decision. The easy way out is to throw up your arms — you’ve been interrupted, the important project will remain on pause until later! (And, honestly, don’t we all like a good external interruption once in awhile?)

The harder but better way is to be ready, to anticipate and prepare for interruptions when you can, and to be nimble when you cannot. This allows us to make progress in spite of them.

In this moment, a person is truly tested; will you be an object in the short term world, or the subject of your own long term world?

This is adapted from How to be a Long Term Person in a Short Term World.


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