home office desk

Your Result

Boost your focus by eliminating distractions

To be happier, consider a habit that will boost your focus by eliminating distractions.

Why this aim is likely to make you happier

Our environment can play a big role in helping us to stay productive. Adjusting our surroundings, to the extent that we can, can help us to eliminate distractions so we can focus on the task at hand.

Clearing mental clutter can also help us stay organized and on-task. Having clear priorities gives us a greater sense of accomplishment when we check off the most important items on our to-do list. We also spend less time on tasks that aren’t as important to us.

Aims you might consider

Make a to-do list (or a could-do list) every morning

Plan a weekly Power Hour—set aside one hour to tackle tasks you tend to put off

Start your day with a productivity sprint—spend 20 minutes checking off quick tasks that can be distracting

Take time to shape your sound environment to boost your focus, by playing music without lyrics, music with lyrics, or the same song on a loop; or surrounding yourself with silence or a busy hum (like a coffee shop)

Schedule focused time—use your work calendar to block off time that you’ll be unavailable for meetings, emails, and chats

Do a daily closing routine—tidy up your workspace so you can start fresh the next day

Know Yourself Better

Self-knowledge is an essential aspect of happiness, because we can create a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, and our own interests. 

As you consider ways to boost your focus by eliminating distractions​​, ask yourself:

  • At what time of day do you naturally feel most productive and creative? If you can, adjust your schedule to tackle complex tasks during these periods, and plan breaks for times you tend to drag.
  • Consider your surroundings: how might you make your work environment more conducive to productivity? Tap into your senses to root out potential distractions like disagreeable smells, irritating sounds, and clutter.
  • Are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Consider how you respond to expectations as you shape your habit. If you’re an Obliger who thrives with a deadline, you’ll want to set your habit up very differently from your Rebel friend who can’t stand someone looking over their shoulder. Take the free quiz here.

A few notes of caution…

  • Books, podcasts, and social media are rife with productivity hacks, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, research shows that 30% of people are night owls, so you might feel productive at a different time of day than your coworker, teacher, or productivity guru. The key is to discover what works for you.

  • Many people who benefit from outer accountability feel like they “should” be able to manage on their own. We must accept our own nature in order to make progress, so if you do better with deadlines, supervision, or collaboration, find a way to get it.