"When most people talk about habits, what they’re saying is, ‘I want something that’s difficult to become effortless. I want the benefits but I don’t want it to be hard," Nir said to me in an interview a few weeks ago. “Well, I have news for you: some things are just hard. There’s no way of getting around it.”
The problem is, when we expect work to be effortless and it ends up being difficult, we often blame ourselves. So the very tools we’re using to make work easier, can instead make it easier for us to give up.
What people don’t realize is that if you’re buried in your email inbox instead of doing your most important work, you are just as distracted as if you went on Facebook or Instagram or whatever. Anything that is not what you planned to do is by definition a distraction.
And I think that things like email, or small todo list items are actually the most pernicious distractions because they feel productive. If I’m checking something off of my todo list that feels productive. What we don’t realize is that in those instances, distraction has tricked us into prioritizing what feels urgent as opposed to what we really need to be doing. And that is toxic for your productivity, for your well-being, and for your happiness.