A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction
his book, “focus”, is by Leo Babauta, creator of zen habits and mnmlist. It was written publicly, online, in small bursts, with feedback from
readers throughout the writing process. It would be much worse without their wonderful help.
The book is dedicatedto my grandfather, Joe Murphy, who lived a life that inspired me, and whose death has left a gap in my life ... and to my grandmother, Marianne Murphy, who I love deeply and whose strength and kindness have always pointed the way for me.
All content of this book are in the public domain. I hereby waive all claim of copyright in this work; it may be used or altered in any mannerwithout attribution or notice to the me. Attribution, of course, is appreciated. To clarify, I’m granting full permission to use any content on this site, including the chapters of my book, in any way you like. I release my copyright on this content. While you are under no obligation to do so, I would appreciate it if you give me credit for any work of mine that you use, and ideally, link back to theoriginal. If you feel like spreading a copy of this book, you may do so without payment.
This is the free version of this ebook, which can also be found at focusmanifesto.com. The full version of the ebook contains additional chapters: 1. creativity and practicing deep focus 2. finding stillness and reflection 3. how to start changes on a broader level 4. overcome the fearsthat stop you from focusing, by Gail Brenner 5. how to create a minimalist workspace to find focus, by Everett Bogue 6. how to take a digital sabbatical, by Gwen Bell 7. life lessons from tea rituals, by Jesse Jacobs 8. two ways to focus on the stuff that matters, by Michael Bungay Stanier In addition, the full version contains video how-to lessons, audio interviews with experts, and bonus guidesto help you further learn to focus. You can get the full version at focusmanifesto.com.
focus: table of contents
section i. step back
1: introduction 2: the age of distraction 3: the importance of finding focus 4: the beauty of disconnection 5: focus rituals
7 9 15 19 26
section ii. clear distractions
1: limiting the stream 2: you don’t need to respond 3: let go of the need tostay updated 4: how not to live in your inbox 5: the value of distraction 6: why letting go can be difficult 7: tools for beating distraction
31 37 39 42 44 46 50
section iii. simplify
1: creating an uncluttered environment 2: slowing down 3: going with the flow 4: effortless action 5: three strategies for prioritizing tasks 6: letting go of goals 7: finding simplicity
55 62 6872 76 78 81
section iv. focus
1: a simple system for getting amazing things done 2: single-tasking and productivity 3: the power of a smaller work focus 4: focused reading and research 5: walking, disconnection & focus
87 91 96 99 102
section v. others
1: finding focus, for parents 2: the problem of others 3: managers transforming office culture
107 112 118
5section i. step back
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
his won’t be a long book, a detailed treatise into modern life with an exhaustive system of remedies.
It’s meant to be short, simple, concise. We’ll talk about some of the problems we face as we try to live and create in a world of overwhelming distractions. And we’ll look at some simple waysto solve those problems. And yet, at the heart of this simple book lies the key to many of the struggles we face these days, from being productive and achieving our goals, to getting healthy and fit in the face of fast food and inactivity, to finding simplicity and peace amidst chaos and confusion. That key is itself simple: focus. Our ability to focus will allow us to create in ways that...