By Leo Babauta
Do you ever have one of those days when you just can’t seem to find focus? When you fritter away your time on nothingnesses, distractions, wandering without really doing something important?
Or one of those weeks?
I have those days regularly. I can find myself “working” for several hours, but at the end of those several hours have nothing to show for it. I feel like I’m floating around, with no anchor, no focal point.
So how do we find focus?
Take a step back. Back away from the browser and the phone, and give yourself a moment’s space to think.
What do you really want to do right now? What’s most important? What kind of person do you want to be?
Maybe you have 5 things you want to do. Pick one. Subtract.
Once you’re clear, you need to clear everything. Bookmark all your tabs (Cmd-Shift-D in Chrome), quit the browser if you don’t need it or close all open tabs if you do. Close all programs you don’t need. Have only the window/tab open that you absolutely need.
Now sit there with your task. Dive in. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted.
You’ll have the urge to go check something. That’s a nice urge — just watch it and smile. Don’t act on the urge. Just smile. Now go back to what you chose to do.
Do it for 10 minutes, however long you feel is pushing the boundaries of what’s comfortable for a little bit.
Then give yourself a nice reward: a short walk, some stretches, checking the thing you had the urge to check (but only for 5 minutes), meditation, read a book, or have some tea. Now go back.
Repeat. With a smile.