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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

14 November 2005

Trifling distractions

Lucy Kellaway has a wonderful column in today’s Financial Times about distractions and their usefulness in life. Some excerpts:

“Here is how I write this column. First, I check both my e-mail accounts. I flick through the newspaper. Then I listen to my voicemail messages, and check my e-mail again. I go upstairs to get a banana from the staff canteen. On the way back down I meet a colleague and we do what everyone at the Financial Times has been doing for the past 10 days or so: we debate and dissect our new editor.

What makes interruptions a tricky subject is that they are not just a terrific waste of time – they are also essential. Interruptions can make us feel wanted. They help one come up with ideas by diverting one’s mind from the hamster wheel it was otherwise running on. They give variety to work and stop us getting too bored. Interruptions also direct us to stop one task when another has suddenly become more urgent.”

I have always defended by studying style, which consists of many distractions, on this basis. My only rule is that distractions have to be good from time to time: if you’re going to waste time, don’t waste it with boring or uninteresting people.

References:
Lucy Kellaway, “On the merits of trifling distractions,” Financial Times, 14 Nov 05

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