Book summary: Focus – A Simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction – Written by Leo Babauta

I have some of Leo’s other works and he has a great mindset. To accomplish a high-value task and achieve goals, concentration is required. To help me in my quest to understand concentration, I read this book.

Why is this important to me?

I don’t want to waste your time. If you’re spending your time reviewing this summary, it must be worth it for you. Marc Aurèle said: Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you will have more time and more peace of mind. Ask yourself every moment: “Is it necessary?” “

Pablo Picasso – Without great solitude no serious work is possible. These two quotes have real power when implemented.

The focus is divided into 4 main parts. To save time, I’ll cover a concept in each section.

1. Go back – Email, web browsing, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. All of these psychics spell one thing: distraction. Distraction creates stress and wastes time. In May 2011, Americans spent 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook. On average, people spend 24 hours a week watching TV and surfing the web. This equates to three days of full-time work per week. Needless to say, these statistics clearly show that people are distracted.

2. Clear Stream – Focus requires setting a schedule. So one way to eliminate some of the distractions is to plan your internet time. Once you’ve got that on the calendar, you can monitor how much time you actually spend on these activities. It also consolidates your usage and makes you more productive as you only focus on the internet. When the time is up, log off and take care of your other chores.

3. Simplify – A great technique to simplify your life is to declutter. This means eliminating the non-essentials. Get rid of your desk and have a clean work environment. This will eliminate distractions. If you have a pile of bullshit on your desk, go through it and make a decision: file, trash, or donate. Make the decision quickly and move on. You can also do this at home. Having a minimalist lifestyle reduces stress so that you can use the same process for your home as you do for your office at work.

Concentration – Now that you’ve completed the first three steps, you can focus on what’s meaningful. Decide what the top five priorities are each day and focus on them. Single task each priority until they are completed. Multitasking on high value tasks does NOT work. Multitasking is a recipe for poor work and frustrated peers. Have you ever had a conversation with someone while reading their emails?

Focus is a quick-to-read book and provides functional “how-to” tactics so you can accomplish high-value tasks. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you eliminate the non-essentials.

Hope you found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to make it part of your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits are formed in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is to declutter. Start decluttering your workspace and your home every day. Do this for 21 days and see how much better you can focus on what’s really important.

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