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How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day : zen habits

Increasing your focused time

It comes down to three habits:

  • Asking yourself what meaningful, impactful work you can get done today.
  • Creating space for meaningful work instead of just doing busywork or being distracted all day.
  • Working in fullscreen mode and diving in.

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How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day : zen habits

How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/more-focused/

zenhabits.net

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Key Ideas

Increasing your focused time

It comes down to three habits:

  • Asking yourself what meaningful, impactful work you can get done today.
  • Creating space for meaningful work instead of just doing busywork or being distracted all day.
  • Working in fullscreen mode and diving in.

Deciding on Your Impactful Work

It’s an incredible habit to take even a few moments at the beginning of your day (or the end of the day before) to give some thought to where you’d like to concentrate your attention. 

Ask yourself: What is worth doing today? What is worth focusing on? What is worth spending the limited time you have in this life?

Creating Space for Focused Work

Very often we’ll push off the bigger, more meaningful tasks because they take longer, and we’re either in distracted mode or quick-task mode.

Set aside the next 20 minutes for writing, or getting moving on a big project. You don’t have to do the whole project in this time, but just the act of giving yourself more space to focus is a huge shift.

Working in Fullscreen Mode

This habit is about letting this one meaningful task become your whole universe.

This translates into writing in a fullscreen writing app. Or opening a browser tab in a separate window (with no other tabs showing) and putting that window in fullscreen mode. It can also mean doing one thing at a time in offline life as well.

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Mental States

It’s really important to monitor mental states. They will usually affect whether we do our exercise, eat healthy, binge watch TV shows, drink alcohol, eat junk food, or are open-hearted (or ...

Moving Into a Mental State
  1. Recognize that you’re in the wrong mental state. It’s not likely to lead to a calm focus. It will lead to you doing busywork or seeking distraction.
  2. Experiment to find a set of actions that can help you move into the right mental state. This is going to be different for each person, but with some experimentation, you can discover things that work for you.
Activities For A Better Mental State
  • Meditation
  • Go for a walk
  • Get up and move around
  • Talk to someone (if you’re worried about something)
  • Having a cup of tea
  • Taking a power nap
  • Having a cup of coffee (differs for each person)
  • Getting into a quiet, uncluttered environment
  • Turning off your wifi router
  • Using full-screen writing apps
  • Playing calming music
  • Reading an inspirational quote or article
  • Talking to someone (including a therapist, if needed)
  • Bringing playfulness to the task

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Getting an early start
Getting an early start

Plan your morning the night before and stick to your plan. 
If a new task comes in that isn’t 100% urgent, designate a time that you’ll work on it uninterrupted or try to delegate the probl...

Deciding where to work
  • If you know you’re more likely to work from home, invest in comfortable furniture; you feel good it will inspire you to get work done.
  • If you want to join a local co-working space but are intimidated by the price point, ask about smaller memberships to start.
Prioritizing tasks

Don’t let your skepticism about productivity hacks get in the way of finding a technique that suits you and helps you get things done.
If you’re still having a hard time identifying priorities, try working backward by identifying work that’s definitely not a priority. Eliminate those items and assess what’s left.

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Make planning a habit
Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.
Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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