The Difference Between Distraction and Diversion

Posted: January 27, 2023 in Uncategorized

What is the difference between distraction and diversion? For me it’s this simple. A distraction distracts and a diversion diverts. I know, “Way to go Captain Obvious!’ Let me go deeper. A distraction is something that takes you off task. A research study at the University of California at Irvine found that, on average, it takes around 23 minutes for most workers to get back on task after an interruption. Distractions pull us out of productivity. Even as I write this, my alarm went off upstairs and I had to go to turn it off. I feel like am forcing myself to get back to work even now. I know that 23 minute number might seem a little arbitrary, but you know how often it happens. You get distracted from what you’re working on, and before you know it, you’re off to e-mail or social media, or fill in your favorite distraction here, and before you know it, substantial time has passed. Productive time lost forever. Distraction can be a real threat to your productivity

I can almost hear your objections from here. You say, but after a long time working on a project, something you just need to get away from it for a while. I couldn’t agree more. As a person who spends a lot of time doing creative work, I know there are times when my creative energy fades. It is a reality and it happens, but when it happens, you don’t need a distraction, you need a diversion. What is the difference? A distraction is almost always a waste of time. A diversion accomplishes something. A diversion helps you build on your knowledge, enhances a skill set, brings an end to a block, etc. For me a diversion might be reading a few pages in a book. It might be a little time spent in a hobby. For example, and I know I have shared this before. I love to build models. When I am blocked creatively, I will sometimes go to my bench for a few minutes. It is still a creative pursuit, but the instructions make it not quite as taxing on my creativity. It allows my mind to wander through my project, and often unblocks me, plus I have a channel dedicated to the hobby, so I am generating some content. I also usually have at least two projects going. Sometimes when one project is blocked, I can hit the other project for a little bit. This will often get me unstuck. Sure it might take me a little time to get back to full productivity but at least I have dined ground on something else that I need to do. A diversion might be a taking a walk, writing a post like this one, which I hope is a diversion and not just a distraction.

The difference between diversion and distraction is a distraction is a time thief, while a diversion enhances life and brings you closer to your goals.

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