Hi, Dan here. Welcome to the 7th edition of my newsletter. 👋 This week:
In our increasingly busy and distracted world, it’s the ability to concentrate that stands between you and your (big) goals.
Here are some books and resources to help you focus on what really matters (and cut out distractions)…
📚 5 Books
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
‘Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?
Do you sometimes feel overworked and underutilized?
Does your day sometimes get hijacked by someone else’s agenda?
If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.’
I love this book. The idea that resonated most is: Less, But Better, i.e. doing less things, but doing those few things better, so you can make your highest possible contribution.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Another great one. This book is about how to form good habits (and break bad ones). Very relatable, with practical and actionable tips.
For a taste of James’ philosophy, read Focus: The Ultimate Guide on How to Improve Focus and Concentration.
James also has a newsletter which I subscribe to: 3-2-1 Thursday newsletter (‘The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.’)
The One Thing By Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
‘What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary’?
Do that. This book tells you how.
There’s also the ONE Thing Podcast.
Make Time by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
This is a (short) practical book on time management and how to focus on what really matters to you every day. Again, very actionable advice.
Written by the guys who invented the Design Sprint.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
The world’s shift toward shallow work is creating a huge opportunity for the few who can cut out distractions, for deep concentrated productive work.
🛠 2 Tools
One Big Thing app (iOS only)
A simple app to keep you focused on your #1 task each day.
Marinara: Pomodoro® Assistant (Chrome Extension)
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed in the late 80s. It uses a timer to break down work into 25 minute intervals, separated by 5 minute breaks.
I find it surprisingly effective. Especially when I’m feeling unfocused - if I can just focus on one uninterrupted thing for 25minutes, then I find I can get in a flow to keep getting (important) work done.
💡 My #1 Top Tip
Focus on your #1 most important task as soon as you wake up, ideally early morning, before the distractions of the day have crept in.
I wrote the outline for this post in the first 25mins of today. I finished the whole thing in 3 ‘Pomodoros’ (1 hour 15 minutes) before I did anything else (no checking email, WhatsApp, social media or even having breakfast).
That’s it for this week. Have you found any books or resources that help you focus? Share in the comments.