1. Meditate. Meditation is the art of continually bringing your attention back to a single object, which in my opinion works out your “attention muscle” better than any other activity. Meditation also calms your mind, increases blood flow to your brain, increases the amount of grey matter in your brain, makes it easier to achieve “flow,” battles procrastination, and has even been shown to boost your test scores. Here’s a guide I wrote on how to get started.
2. Quit multitasking. Multitasking is terrible for your focus and productivity, and it makes you more prone to errors, affects your memory, and even adds stress to your life.
3. Keep a list of everything you’re waiting on, to make sure nothing slips through the cracks, and so you can worry a lot less about the people and things you need to stay on top of.
4. Start a mind capture ritual. Shut everything off, set a timer for 15 minutes, and lay down with a blank notepad and a pen. Then capture all of the open loops in your head, to clear away your mental clutter.
5. Consume foods that boost your focus and concentration. Nine of my favorites: blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, water, dark chocolate, flax seeds, and nuts.
6. “Clear to neutral.” Whenever you finish an activity, cleanup to reduce the friction to starting it the next time. E.g. clean the kitchen when you finish cooking, or set aside your running gear for your run tomorrow morning.
7. Completely disconnect from the Internet when you have to get something done. 47% of your time online is spent procrastinating. If you want to get something big done, unplug from the Internet.
8. Use your smartphone less. Your smartphone sucks up your attention, distracts you a lot more than you think, dilutes your interactions with people, and is a very low-leverage activity. I used my smartphone for only an hour a day for three months, and haven’t seen it the same since.
9. Put your smartphone on airplane mode between 8pm and 8am. This ritual makes you more mindful, helps you fall asleep faster, reduces your exposure to melatonin-blocking blue light before bed, and forces you to focus on higher-leverage activities before and after you wake up.
10. Do less. When you spread your attention, energy, and time over fewer activities, you bring more to everything you do, and achieve a whole lot more.