Guarding Your Attention

Seth Godin tells it like it is:

If you’re actually going to do the work, the real work, the work of producing and shipping the things that matter, I’m afraid you’re going to have to be brutally honest about whether this is merely a fun habit or actually a useful lever. Once the fun habit reaches a significant portion of your day (try tracking it today), it might be time to take charge instead of to be a willing victim.

That’s a strong argument for cutting the cord, or going on hiatus.

Although social networking doesn’t necessarily cause interruptions, surely it encourages them. There’s an interest in getting you addicted like junk food. And, like how in-shape people don’t eat junk food, the ones producing and shipping things probably aren’t on Facebook all the time.

At the end of his first semester at Penn, a student whom I’ll call Daniel was disappointed to learn that his GPA was a lackluster 2.95. Following the Study Hacks orthodoxy that study habits should be based on evidence — not random decisions or peer pressure — Daniel asked himself a crucial question: What are the better students doing that I’m not?

When he surveyed his classmates, he noted something interesting: “the high-scoring kids weren’t on Facebook.”