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 will only see these cards on the board.

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

I assign due dates for all my goals I am striving to achieve. 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.

The things I work on during this 80 min focus session is specified by an event in Fantastical. The events are simply names of projects on which I want to work on in that time. Here are the most common events I use and what I do during them:

  • 2Do - I open 2Do and work through the most prioritized tasks for Today.
  • Open Source - I use Bee app and work through GitHub issues in Next list.
  • Ideas - I pick an idea I want to work on from Trello and make it.
  • Learn - I choose a topic I want to learn from Trello and learn it. Either by reading books, research papers or exploring LA.

At the end of the 100 min focus session, Timing shows up automatically and I say which projects I worked on in this 100 min period. The projects are a reflection of my Focus Trello board.

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

I focus fully on solving problems I need to solve and spend 0 energy thinking about what I should be doing or whether I am spending my time wisely in the moment. Full focus on the task at hand. No multitasking. No distractions.

Other things

  • I don't listen to distracting music when trying to focus. Instead I use Noizio, Oak or have nothing playing at all.
  • 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 from my computer 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

  • You can't manage projects. You can only manage actions related to projects.

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