I’m always looking for small sacrifices that generate a positive impact. It’s the simplest way to improve quality of life. It seems to me that about 20% of our day is actually productive while 80% is spent resting, playing, or performing tasks that seem productive but ultimately aren’t important. Our ability to focus on uncomfortable tasks seems to be the limiting factor. The habits in this post can improve your focus.
I teach classes that last 40 minutes. That is 2.8% of your day. What a small sacrifice of time to get such a great return! I’ve tried the following things with myself and with clients. This stuff is safe, easy to do, cheap, and effective. Don’t bother measuring anything. I suggest setting an alarm in your phone or have some sort of reminder to start the habit. Then, experiment with one of these habits for 21 days. If the habit has a noticeable impact, then keep it and build on it. Keep trying new habits in different doses. What helps you?
1. Walk outside for 20 minutes.
Get fresh air in your lungs.
Absorb Vitamin D from the sun. Most people are deficient.
The low intensity movement detoxes your body while lowering inflammation and burning fat.
Listen to podcast or audio books.
Lots of great ideas have come to innovators while they were walking.
It can be meditative and a way to connect with nature.
2. Do 20 minutes of yoga or stretching
This improves your strength, mobility, lung capacity, muscle/joint health. You’ll live longer and sleep better.
3. Drink a glass of water first thing in the am.
Get the system moving. Clear up brain fog. Get your bowels moving. Have a source of energy without caffeine.
4. Invest time in learning to cook. Try the same meal and make improvements.
You will be eating everyday for the rest for the rest your life. It’s a good idea to practice cooking meals that are easy, healthy, quick, and cheap.
I suggest practicing one meal over and over again until it becomes routine. Expect that it will take several attempts to get it right. And now you have one great meal mastered forever! (hint: do this with all life skills)
5. Meditate or quietly sit still and think about your life for 5 minutes. If it seems long and uncomfortable then you just might need it! 80% of world-class performers meditate for 20 minutes a day. It’s amazing how creative we are at numbing to escape our own thoughts and feelings. You’re also numbing the good feelings. Feeling is living. Are the tasks your investing your focus on really aligned with your life goals or are you just keeping busy so you feel like you’ve done something?
6. Wake up 1 hour earlier. Exercise, organize, or get work done. Catch up so that people you deal with know that you’re organized. Your sleeping and focus hormones are evolved to stay in sync with the sun.
Are you better off being awake from 11:00-12:00am or from 6:00-7:00am?
7. Lastly, do nothing. Get out of your own way! Stop numbing yourself with sugar, caffeine, alcohol, smoke, and TV. Try abstaining from these things for at least 16 hours a day. Which habits drain your energy and focus? Identify and eliminate them.
How many of the above habits are already in your routine?
Which habit change makes you feel most uncomfortable? That’s the one you need to focus on the most!
This will cost you very little time and money. Improve your productivity, income, health, and happiness. Increase your focus with small habits.
To put time in perspective:
5 minutes is .35% of your day
20 minutes is 1.4% of your day
1 hour is 4.16% of your day
You’re not too busy. Life is short.