Having lived a minimalist lifestyle for nearly ten years (by my definition anyway), I don’t have a lot of things left to get rid of that I don’t use or need.
But there is one big thing that I can do with much less of this year—distractions.
I have noticed lately that I have been finding it more and more difficult to focus solely on a single task.
Whenever I sit down to do some work, whether it’s reading, writing, studying etc. I hardly last 10 or 20 minutes before I’ve got a tab open on something new, or I’ve absent mindedly moved onto something else without realising it. Before I know it, it’s 9pm and I haven’t gotten much done that day.
Distractions come in so many forms. It’s impossible to get rid of them all, but there are some major ones that would make a big difference if I were to reduce them as much as possible.
- Daily news. Given the political environment, following the news last year always made me angry/upset/confused. There’s always something bad going on in the world, and there’s a line somewhere between being informed about world events, and knowing too much that it’s just upsetting.
- Social media. Even though I stopped following people on my feed years ago, I ended up replacing them with news sites that used to be informative, but have degraded to pointless videos about things that don’t add value to my life.
- TV. Every time one show finishes, and I think I can take a break from TV, another one starts up again and I end up watching about 4-8 hours of TV a week which I can do with halving. There are many better things for me to do with an hour each day.
- Disabling all notifications
- Deleting news bookmarks from my computer and phone
- Turning off the colour to my iPhone so it looks boring
- Logging out of social media from all browsers
- Turning my computer off if I intend to do something else
- Deleting all social apps from my phone
- Keep a notepad to look things up later instead of doing it instantly
- Unsubscribing from Netflix
- Letting go of TV shows even though I haven’t finished them
- Any other 100+ ways that’s not actually difficult to do
To be replaced with…
- Face to face interactions. I want to spend more time connecting with people in person, including friends and family, and also I will make an effort to network more this year with people who up my game, in business, in life, emotionally, and intelligently.
- Learning/investing in myself. Every dollar I have ever spent on a book has been well worth it, so I attended a training workshop this month that costed a lot of money but was worth every penny. Now I’m on track to make 10x the cost of that seminar back. I’m convinced the more I learn, the more I earn.
- Deep work. I want to reach my goal of reading 52 books this year while making better notes so that I retain more of what I learn. I also want to spend more time writing for the both Minimal Student and Minimalist Meditations, and updating my journals on a weekly basis instead of monthly.
It all comes down to wanting to do things with intention and awareness. If I’m distracted less, I can focus more on doing all the things I want to in the time that I have.
- On Distractions — Minimalist Meditations
- 5 ways to kick start and feed your reading habit
- 5 Ways to Cut Down on Social Networking