When Eliminating Distractions Is A Bad Thing

Michelle Mac
4 min readFeb 15, 2023
The Isolator

This is “The Isolator”, an anti-distraction device created in 1925. It was designed to allow users to “concentrate with ease upon the subject at hand” by making it “almost impossible to see anything except a sheet of paper in front of the wearer”.

Sometimes I feel like this is how I’m living my life. Only focused on the task at hand and always eliminating any potential distractions.

Lately, I’ve come to learn that’s not always a good thing. I mean, how many things do we experience in everyday life that we simply forget or don’t pay attention to for the sake of more productivity?

I’m forgetting what I did during the week!

I ring my Mom most Thursdays after work to say hello and I can’t tell you how many times I forget what I even did that week!

Why is that? Is everything I’m doing very mundane or am I just not paying attention to what’s around me? Or is my brain turning to mush.. hmm maybe that option…

With actual tasks and projects, it’s second nature to me to organize it all on a list or add it to a project plan so it doesn’t get forgotten. The same can’t be said of my life outside of that.

I don’t want to turn my life into an efficient productivity machine where literally everything is…



Michelle Mac

The *heavily edited* ramblings of a technical writer & frontend dev. I write about creativity, design, and productivity. Start here: https://heymichellemac.com/