I was a workaholic. So much so that I burned out my body and brain.
In fact, I burned myself out by not being focused. I tried to do everything and that’s impossible.
As you can imagine, I now highly value relaxation and rejuvenation.
In fact, I spend several hours each day relaxing and caring for my body, mind, and spirit.
This commitment to myself limits the amount of time available for work. Therefore, I need to focus and use work time efficiently.
But – as you probably know quite well yourself – it’s easy to get distracted.
Whether you are too busy working or – like me – too busy relaxing, the answer to distraction is the same: focus.
10 Ways I Focus
Here are 10 ways that I focus inspired by Leo Babauta’s excellent new ebook called focus, a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction.
1. Resisting the pull of email
Without thinking about it too much, I had my email program set to auto check every five minutes. Yes, almost every time it beeped, I would disrupt my work flow to have a “quick” look. Of course, that often led to more distraction. Now it’s reset to check every hour. The sound notification is turned off. I will probably turn the auto-check off completely and just check email once or twice a day.
2. Turning away from excess entertainment
My husband and I haven’t had a television for over four years now. We watch a movie or documentary, but we limit it to just once a week.
We often choose movies or documentaries about nature or ones with an uplifting message, which inspires our mind and heart. The violence that is an ordinary part of many television programs adversely effects all of us, but children and highly sensitive people – up to 20% of the population – are at greater risk.
Limiting television, movies, and other forms of mindless entertainment opens up so much time and space in your life, and allows you to focus on what’s really important to you. It’s such a wonderful way to find more peace, freedom, and creativity.
3. Limiting social media time
I value social media and the wonderful connections I’ve made there. But it can be a place where I easily fritter away time. I’ve decided to limit myself to 30 minutes a day.
I have hundreds of blog posts in my inbox. Since I follow all my blog friends on twitter, I see their new posts there – far before I see them in my inbox. I don’t need to receive them in my inbox too. I’d rather follow the twitter link and visit their blog.
I’m gradually unsubscribing to blogs – one a day. Don’t take it personally if I unsubscribe from your blog. I’m still reading it!
5. Turning off email notifications from social media.
I don’t need to know every time I have a new follower on twitter or a friend request from Facebook. This further clogs up my already hopeless inbox, which takes more and more time to clear.
6. Cleaning up my computer desktop
I tend to let files accumulate all over my desktop so I can barely see the bright blue sky behind them. It makes it difficult to find what I need, another time waster.
7. Choosing only the most important tasks each day
I love Leo’s suggestion of selecting just 1-3 most important tasks each day, focusing on the single most important task first, and single-tasking until it’s finished. This is proving to be a much more relaxing and productive way to work.
8. Blocking off undistracted time
I’m learning to work in 50 minute blocks of undistracted time interspersed with 10 minute breaks for stretching, resting, breathing, meditating, and other rejuvenating activities.
Since the publication of Leo’s book, so many of my internet friends are disconnecting – some for short periods of time and others for far longer. To be honest, I miss them although I support them too. I’m myself plan to unplug periodically to focus on – you guessed it – relaxation, inner focus, and my close relationships.
10. Simplify my writing style
I tend to write long blog posts. There are times when I can deliver the same value with fewer words saving both myself and my readers time.
I’m putting these new habits into place gradually, there’s no need to rush. With every small step, I’m already enjoying the increased clarity and added simplicity that is blossoming in my life.
I recommend focus
In his simple, yet compelling writing style, Leo Babauta helps you step back and explore your own personal obstacles to focus. He tells you how to beat the fear of disconnecting and the rewards that focus will bring to your life. You’ll find easy to use ideas and methods for clearing distractions, simplifying your life, and finding focus.
Leo is a deep thinker and caring person, which sets Babauta’s focus apart from other ebooks on the topic. Whether you get the free, premium, or Kindle version, you will benefit from reading this manifesto.
How are you finding focus in your life?
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