Distraction Habit: Taking action

24.03.2015 |

by Leo Babauta

So you’re building an awareness, and you’ve examined your causes. If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to walk around your office or house, or better yet get outside, and contemplate these things. This article can wait.

Now there are further steps you can take. Consider taking one or more of these:

– Start closing as many browser tabs as you can. Bookmark some things, save others in your favorite “read later” service (such as Instapaper or Pocket), and let others go.

– Block your favorite distractions for a few hours. Games, social media sites, news sites. You don’t really need to go to them that often.

– Write down the times you’re going to check email and other messages. Want to process email for 20 minutes at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4p.m.? Write that down. Stick to it.

– Get away. Go outside for a walk. Ride your bike. Go for a run. Take the kids to the park.

– Meditate. Sit still for just a couple minutes, without any distractions, and put your attention on your breath. Return to the breath when you get distracted.

– Read. A paper book. Close all screens and just give yourself some quiet reading time.

– Find a place with no wifi. Or turn off your router. Write without distractions. Close all applications besides your writing program.

– Delete social media accounts. I recently went back on Facebook to connect with my family during my dad’s hospitalization and death. But the privacy violations and useless things being posted there sent me running, and I deleted my account again.

– Delete distractful apps on your phone. Games, social media, whatever you tend to turn to when you want a bump of distraction.

– Eat without a device. Pay attention to your food. Notice the textures, flavors, colors, healthfulness that you’re putting into the temple of your body.

Of course, there are other things you can do. Go on a retreat. Practice mindfulness in bits throughout the day. Take a day off of screens. The possibilities are endless.


 Considering what’s important

What’s truly important to you? Social media? News? What everyone else is doing all the time? Games?

I’d submit that we try to do everything, but then we’re not really focusing on anything. We’re not going to make any of our little fantasies come true if we pursue all of them.

What is the one thing you want to pursue right now? Can you focus on that for at least a month? If not, maybe it’s not that important to you.

What are the most important things in your life? Pick 3-4, or 5 at the most. How much of your time is devoted to these things? Can you cut out other things to focus on these? Can you give your 4 most important things your full attention?

In my life, my writing, my family, my health, and my learning are my four most important things. And no, I don’t always devote my full attention to them. I often need to step back and remind myself of what’s important.

Author: Leo Babauta

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