If not for distractions, for the people

When I’m alone, it’s very easy to slack off – watch YouTube videos, read a novel, Twitter, Facebook. Working in the presence of another person or people is an entirely different story.

I had thought that working in a coffee shop helped me focus because it had less distractions, but as technology advanced, my sources of distraction also mobilized and followed me through smartphones, tablets, and always-on connectivity.

If not for decreased distractions, perhaps I go to these places for the people. There is something special about being in the presence of someone else. That someone can be a significant other, a good friend, or even a stranger. It’s as if we have some accountability to the other human beings in the same room regardless, even to the stranger minding his/her own business at a different table, to maintain that self narrative of “I’m supposed to be productive.  Let’s get to work.”

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Howard Chen
Vice Chair for Artificial Intelligence at Cleveland Clinic Diagnostics Institute
Howard is passionate about making diagnostic tests more accurate, expedient, and affordable through disciplined implementation of advanced technology. He previously served as Chief Informatics Officer for Imaging, where he led teams deploying and unifying radiology applications and AI in a multi-state, multi-hospital environment. Blog opinions are his own and in no way reflect those of the employer.

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