reduce masking distractions



Observation starts with attention. To Observe and notice more things, you need first to make room and set the attention-bandwidth for it.

At the same time, you are bombarded with distractions that consume your attention and therefore mask significant parts of the world surrounding you. The more you will reduce the level of masking distractions that draw your attention unintentionally or uncontrollably, the more bandwidth you will have to perceive portions of the world you previously weren’t aware of.

Masking Distractions can take many forms and shapes. They can be time-consuming or extremely prompt, but when they draw your attention, their impact can last for a long time, as they take you out of the mindful, observant mindset.

actionable steps

Identify masking-distractions:

  • anything that consumes your attention bandwidth, and
  • prevents you from being attentive to the world around you, and
  • doesn’t have value, or you don’t consider an Experience

Deliberately plan to reduce the number of items on your distraction list or the impact they have on you (for example, by spending less time on each item).

Revisit the list to ensure a positive trend and identify new potential distractions.


Example 1

Breaking Notifications. The number one modern distraction. Every time your attention is drawn to an unplanned notification on your smartphone, you break your flow, and your intentional-attention bandwidth is reduced to zero and will take some time to recover. As much as breaking notifications are destructive, they are easy to overcome with simple one-time action: setting them off.

Example 2

Mindless, shallow TV watching. A good show on TV can be an experience. It could be a wonderful playground for Observing and harvesting raw material for future inspiration. But watching TV could equally be a mindless, empty activity. When we just pass the time in front of the TV without finding value in what we watch (not even recreational value), we don’t utilize our attention to observe other, more valuable, things.

related practices

further exploration

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