For over a year, I’ve been working to improve components of my life by running monthly experiments. Every month I’ll take on another challenge to see whether it leads to an improvement in my output, quality of life, or health (or all of these).

For April’s challenge a few months ago, the focus was on focus.

We’re bombarded with billions if not trillions of dollars being invested to distract us or at least point our attention towards some sink. Even a brief visit to Facebook or YouTube can turn into a rabbit hole of time waste. This can be exacerbated when you’re tired, stressed, hungry, or weakened in any way.

It’s coming to a point that we should think about how we can counter this trend personally before we’re overwhelmed by the situation. Fortunately, there are both tools and techniques to counter this and a new industry is emerging for focus. For April, I needed to get to 100 tomatoes. A tomato is a 25-minute period of time where I’m focusing on a single task, whether it’s writing a post like this one, or responding to a client.

To help with this, I employed a tool called Facebook Feed Eliminator that instantly removed the pigeon button type scrolling of my Facebook Feed.

The results? I found using this technique, I could get a lot more tasks done, specifically ones that I’d dread, like a difficult email. Some other tools:

  • Alinof Timer (for mac)
  • iTunes (for playing locally stored music)
  • Setting f.lux to dark room mode (it’s hard to watch YouTube in red and black)

What’ll be interesting to see over the coming year or two is more AI-based tools that analyze our behaviour and suggest ways to steer us to more focus and productivity. Maybe they’d also build in a reward or points system?

In the end, we have to elevate ourselves beyond just being eyeballs for ads.

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