It’s the first week into the new year and many people are already overwhelmed with new projects, goals, business schedules and life in the fast track. How do we get all (or any) of it done in a world of constant demands and distractions? In a word – Focus. That’s also the title of a great new e-book/manifesto by zen blogger Leo Babauta.

While Leo writes about all kinds of helpful Zen Habits to get focused, I love his simple approach to “getting amazing things done.” Lately, it’s how I start, and prioritize, my work everyday… and my productivity is way up.

Here’s my edited version of his 3 easy steps to focus… and finish.

Step 1: Find something amazing to work on

First things first, find something amazing that you want to work on today… choose something exciting or fun. It can be a work project, business idea, learning a new skill, taking photos, writing a song… or writing a blog!

But it should be something that excites you, and compels you to work on it because you’re inspired, excited, motivated. It doesn’t have to be huge, just “amazing” by your definition – it could be a novel, a screenplay, a garden, a new craft or a new recipe.

Step 2: Clear away everything else

This may be the hardest step: clearing away distractions.

But in order to focus, you’ll need to clear your desk, clear your computer (close all programs, including your browser, that you don’t absolutely need for this task), and clear (turn off) your techno-interruptions, such your phone, Blackberry, iPhone, and anything else that might distract you from your Something Amazing.

Step 3: Focus on that something amazing

OK, all clear. Now just focus on that Something Amazing — that one task you chose that you’re excited about, that’s going to change your life in some small way. Do this as soon as you can in the day — not after lunch or late in the day. Again, this step, like clearing all the distractions, can be a challenge. The great urge to respond to email, Twitter, Facebook, that phone call or anything else, can be unrelenting. If that happens: Stop, take a deep breath, and remember why you chose this task. Feel that excitement, and focus.

Of course, big Amazing projects may take days, months or years, but just by focusing on ONE task for an hour or two each day, you’ll be able to complete great, exciting, and possibly life-changing things.

And then, all that’s left to focus on is celebrating your accomplishment.

Note: Leo Babauta has waived the copyright on the content from his book Focus and encourages sharing it. See his simplicity manifesto.

Author's Bio: 

I’m a girl from the Canadian prairies who likes wide-open spaces, fresh ideas, a great

story, and inspiring environments, buildings and art of all kinds. I have written feature

stories about architecture, urban, rural and lakeside living, cool neighbourhoods, and

everything from business to pleasure (tourism and travel).

I believe that powerful writing, too, can link the artistic with the practical.

My feature writing has appeared in: Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, The Western

Producer, The Cottager, Manitoba Business Magazine, Manitoba’s Northern Experience, Home &

City, Manitoba Gardener, Ciao and up! (WestJet’s magazine).

Barbara Edie