Great post from Tony over at The MIX. Key points for taking back your attention include:
- Let your deepest values become a more powerful guide to your behaviors
What do you truly stand for? How do you want to behave, no matter what? Keep those commitments front and center through your days, both as a source of energy and direction for your behaviors.
- Build deliberate practices
Set up ritualized behaviors you do at specific times until they become automatic. For example, begin by doing the most important thing first in the morning, uninterrupted, for 60 to 90 minutes. Make the start time and the stop time inviolable, so you know exactly how long you’re going to have to stay the course.
- Create “precommitments” to minimize temptation
Our capacity for self-control gets depleted every time we exercise it. Turn off your email entirely at certain times during the day. Consider working at times on a laptop that isn’t hooked up to the Internet. Do this for the same reason you should remove alluring foods from your shelves (or avoid all-you-can-eat buffets) when you’re on a diet.
- Start small
Attention operates like a muscle. Subject it to stress–but not too much stress–and over time your attention will get stronger. What’s your current limit for truly focused concentration? Build it up in increments. And don’t go past 90 minutes without a break.