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8 Ways to Distraction-Free Living

Simple methods to staying focused and letting go

Unplug
Photography by Anh Nhat

Life can become full of distractions; some big, some small. These add up and make it difficult for us to truly focus and get anything worthwhile done. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose a path of less distraction by combining some of the following.

1. Become a Minimalist (Sort Of)

Seems obvious, right? Personally, I don’t consider myself a minimalist in the purist sense. However, minimalism and other key concepts (simplicity, 80/20) do allow one to focus on the important. They are tools we can all learn to make use of in our lives. A fundamental part of minimalism is stripping away the excess, until we are left with what matters most. This is fertile ground for a focused approach to living our lives.

2. Simplify Commitments

Overcommitting ourselves is one of the biggest reasons many of us get distracted. It’s also a big reason so many of us end up stressed and feeling like we never have enough hours in the day. Say yes to less. Get comfortable with the liberal use of a polite, but firm, ‘no’ in your vocabulary. Value the white space in your diary and be careful to protect it.

3. Single Task

Quite why multi-tasking is celebrated in our culture remains one of life’s mysteries. Multi-tasking has always been a great way to get average to poor results, from more than one thing at a time. Does this sound like an ideal to be chased? Single tasking is the way to get things done well, distraction-free.

4. Unplug

More of our time than ever before is spent plugged in—quite literally. The online world, and our mobile devices, can become a constant distraction if we don’t use them with discretion. We need to make time to unplug on a regular basis.

5. Avoid Chasing Random Acts of Variety

Variety can indeed be the spice of life but it can also be a curse if we’re constantly distracted by the bright, shiny, and new. Maybe staying committed to something and improving it is also ‘a spice of life’.

Know when to pivot in life and when to stick.

6. Appreciate the Power of Narrow and Deep

In an age when distractions are more plentiful than ever, many of us end up spreading ourselves wide but never really to any depth. Reconnecting with our ability to narrow our aim and dig deep becomes ever more rare. But digging deep brings its own rewards and can often support our biggest successes.

7. Say No

Most of us default to yes as our response of choice, to any request on our time. We may even see this as something to strive for. The truth is, most of us need to get more comfortable with saying no, more often.

Too many yeses add up to us overcommitting, juggling too much and becoming distracted. Better to be focused instead and truly commit to what we say yes to.

8. Turn the Volume Down

We live in a noisy and stimulating world. While this can add to the richness of our lives, it can also be one almighty distraction. Sometimes we just need to turn the volume down on life a little, detach from the glow of our devices and events in our calendar, and focus instead.


Life is much too precious to be distracted all the time. We can never truly enjoy the moment or appreciate the thrill of being in flow when we are flitting from this to that. Identify and commit to what really means something to you. Rewire yourself for a focused life—it’s a good life.

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