Focusing

Focusing on the things I need to be doing is often hard and I am always trying to lure my monkey brain to actually listen to me and not live a life of its own.

Flow

Getting in the flow state is one of the most important things I try to focus on throughout the day.

I try to define a certain set of rules and processes that I like myself to follow for doing certain things.

For example, one of these rules is that I need to be proactive with my email and action on every email I read. But there are many other ones out there.

Focusing on what's important

I keep a private Trello board where I outline things that I want to focus on in life and achieve.

I mark the projects and goals I want to focus on right now, and by pressing Q in Trello I only see these cards on the board.

I use the same Focus on cards approach for all my other Trello boards too.

I try to have a completely event driven workflow as I schedule events in my calendar and plan the next day or days ahead of me in context of my goals.

I use 2Do's recurring scheduled tasks as a way to remember to complete my day/week/monthly reviews & plans which I often do in the evenings of particular days.

I find this goal centric approach to be incredibly useful as it lets me focus on making sure I do everything I need to achieve the goals I have set for myself. Making sure I limit the number of projects I am working on at any given time lets me actually deeply focus on them instead of being scattered around wondering if I am working on the right thing in the moment.

Focus sessions

I use Focus app as a recurring Pomodoro timer which lets me work in sessions of 80 minutes with 10 min breaks by blocking distracting websites and apps.

Only on breaks can I visit these websites. I also get 20 minutes of optional break time every 3 hours. And I can start 5 min breaks during my Focus sessions with a macro.

The things I work on are events I have set in Fantastical. The events can be meetings or projects I have set. Some common events include:

  • 2Do (☑️) - I open 2Do and work through the most prioritized tasks for Today or Starred.

  • Code (💻) - I work through 2Do tasks with pr tag or work on open issues/prs I have on GitHub or build an idea from Trello.

  • Learn (📖) - I learn a topic from one of the currently active topics on Trello.

  • Write (🖊) - I write and finish any of the fragments I started.

At the end of the 80 min focus session, Timing shows up automatically and I say which projects I worked on in this 80 min period.

Focus script ran on break/focus-end will switch to Timing and activate next block of time so I can annotate what I did

Projects in Timing track activities I did. I add rules to each activity so Timing intelligently matches blocks of time to activities

I limit apps that can send me notifications to only essential things and turn off all sounds on notifications I get.

I focus on solving problems & limit any distractions.

Other things

  • I don't listen to distracting music & block out environment noise when focusing. Instead I use Noizio or Dark Noise and listen to rain or similar sounds.

  • I always have water or tea nearby and keep myself hydrated. If I can't solve some problem or feel like I can't keep my focus, I take a walk outside or do some exercise.

  • I try to work outside of home and move often. When that is not possible I emulate a working environment in some part of my home so my brain knows that if I am in this place, it is time to work and not do anything else.

  • I don't use any external monitors. I found multiple monitors distracting as I can do everything fast with my macbook already.

  • I strive to support my happiness by working on projects that I care about and looking after my health.

  • I constantly refine my workflow to be more efficient and better every day. I also maintain a set of my own rules in life that I follow.

Notes

Links