Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do. – John Carmack
Mondays are tough for many of us. We return to work to continue our routines, meet deadlines, and carry out obligations. How is it that we focus on what we need to do? By deciding what not to do!
There is only so much one can accomplish in an hour, day, week, year, or lifetime. Sometimes, it is deciding what NOT to do that helps us to focus. In the 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris, he teaches about “The Art of Quitting”. That is to quit doing things that make you unhappy or are unnecessary. He used a parable of eating a dessert that turned out awful. He put a lot of effort into making it, so he felt compelled to eat all of it. At a certain point, he realized how silly it was and threw away the disgusting mess. I think we all have things in our lives we should re-examine and trim out unnecessary and unfruitful activities.
Tim Ferriss also speaks much of the Prato Principle, AKA the 80/20 rule, which I also learned while studying my MBA. It basically states that 80% of your time is devoted to work that produces 20% of the results. Inversely, 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. Focus on that 20% of effort and you can compound your results. Easier said than done, I know.
A personal example. I hate mowing the lawn. Many a person will spend thousands of dollars and many hours a year mowing and spray their lawns. They have an affinity for, or maybe a contrived societal coercion to, have a fairway like lawn. I, on the other hand, let our lawn to grow up 6inches or so, allow it to look shaggy, much more like the rough of a golf course than the green, and only mow when I feel it is absolutely necessary. And the “weeds”, well we find the yellow dandelions, white clover, and purple violets to be more attractive than monotone green. (I would love to plant an alternative lawn or herbal lawn seed mix.)
To be honest, our lawn doesn’t look that much different than most of our neighbors despite putting in less than half their effort. With the hours saved, we have more time to do what ever it is we enjoy doing, like writing!
What do you need to cut out of your day/life to improve your focus? Let us know in the comments!
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