Focusing Makes You Happier


Personal Productivity for Lawyers

This quick-start guide to Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero also includes two shortcuts for those who want the benefits of GTD without having to learn the system.

Social media tends to be a regular source of distraction for most people during the day. If you are distracted by social media, however, you are also probably distracted by someone sneezing, a bird flying by, or the sound of a stapler.

Doing work is admittedly not the most enjoyable actively. A recent study, however, shows that focusing on the matter at hand will make you happier than if you allow your mind to constantly wander.

The results of the study

Scientists randomly contacted participants to find out what they were doing and how happy they were at that moment (work tended to be towards the bottom of the scale). They would also find out if the participants were focused on their current activity or thinking about something else.

Notably, the scientists behind the study fell that wandering focus could lead to unhappiness, but that unhappiness was not a catylst for wandering attention (I have my doubts about that one).

What the results mean

I have previously written about studies concluding that digital overload and multi-multi-multi-tasking can easily destroy your productivity. But does focusing actually make you happier? I tend to agree with the study and I say yes.

I get the most stressed when I think about all ten million things that need to get done, other than the task in front of me. When I shutdown Tweetdeck, ignore email, and close my door, I can focus on the discovery or brief in front of me, and power away.

The task at hand becomes simpler and easier when you can shut out distractions. While you may never be able to ignore every distraction, you can easily minimize many of them. Take whatever steps you can to force your focus. Not only will you get more accomplished, you might even feel better!



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