Enjoying a Block of Undistracted Time

By Leo Babauta

If you’ve been Simplifyng Your Day, you’re saying No to unnecessary commitments, tasks and distractions that aren’t absolutely necessary … but what do you do with that extra time?

You should reserve this extra time for the important things: creating, thinking, exercising, spending time with friends & family, reading, learning, and so on.

The best way to do that, I’ve found, is to clear out a block or two of undistracted time in your day. That can be early in the morning, as you work on your most important task(s), and even later in the day as you block off time for yourself, for reading with your kids, for exercising, etc.

I usually do 2-3 of those — writing in the morning, then exercise, then family time and reading time later in the day.

Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Create extra time by saying no to non-essential commitments and tasks, even things that are already on your calendar that you don’t absolutely need to do.
  2. Make an appointment (or two) on your calendar for 30-60 minutes (or more) to do something that’s at the top of your priority list. Exercise, writing, spending time with loved ones, reading, creating, meditating … something like that. I like one block in the morning (my most productive block) and another in the late afternoon (for something that requires a little less thinking).
  3. Make this an unmissable appointment. There’s a tendency to let this appointment slip, because often there’s no one waiting for us, but make this appointment more important than anything else.
  4. When it comes, clear everything away, shut off the phone and notifications, close the browser, and have nothing but you and whatever you scheduled. Get yourself in the right mindset — from the fast-task mode you were in before, to the slowed-down, less distracted mode you’ll need for this block of undistraction.
  5. Enjoy this block of undistraction. It’s not a chore, but something you get to do. A treat. Smile, breathe, and bask in the glory of the time you’ve created for yourself.