mnmlist: clear distractions

When it comes to minimalism in doing, distractions are the biggest obstacle.

We must first identify what’s most important to us, what we’re passionate about, what we want to spend our time on. And then we must focus on those things first.

But the distractions. They get in the way of this focusing, no?

And so we must kill the distractions with the zeal of a maniacal dictator. Without all the actual bloodiness, you know.

Without distractions, you’ll be able to focus. You’ll find peace. You’ll find time for doing what you love.

Here’s how:
  • Cut back your social networking to network (or two at the most) – including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, forums, etc. These are hugely distracting.
  • Cut back on your social networking “friends”. Stick to your actual friends and colleagues. Networking with thousands of people you don’t know is superficial and distracting.
  • Limit time on social networking, email to specified periods. Set the times you allow yourself to do these activities – from 1-2 p.m., for example.
  • Do less email. Start by sending less. Check email less often. Use the phone or face-to-face conversations when possible.
  • Shut down the internet to work. Disconnect, and work without distractions.
  • Separate consuming from creating. Reading and networking and emailing are different from actually creating. Do them at separate times.
  • Set a limited reading time. If you read a lot on the web, or RSS feeds, set limits and do it at specified times.
  • Shut off notifications. Email, Blackberry, IM, whatever. Shut em down.
  • Clear away icons on your desktop. File them all in one folder, and use an app launcher such as LaunchBar or Launchy.
  • Clear your actual desk.
  • Use music to block out your surroundings.
  • Get away from the computer, spend time with actual people.
  • Shut off the smartphone. Seriously.
  • Single-task and focus.
  • Focus on the most important tasks first, before you get distracted.
  • Set limits on your work hours. If your time is limited, you’ll find ways to make the most of that limited time.