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4 Must Read Books On Fighting Distractions and Finding Your Focus

Jul 3, 2019

If you are like me, you are likely to struggle with focus on a daily basis. There are too many distractions calling for our attention every hour, it is hard to find almost any uninterrupted slice of time that is an absolute requirement if you want to do anything meaningful.

There are heaps of researches that suggest that this constant pressure on our ability to pay attention to the important thing is not only taking a toll on our ability to accomplish our work and do quality work, it is also affecting our overall quality of life negatively. We are always anxious. Stressed.

Over the past months, I have been on a personal journey to finding focus and minimizing distractions in my life. I’ve stopped using social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. I use them now once in a while, mostly for communication purposes because everyone is on these platforms and people prefer to stay connected there. I’ve also significantly cut back on my online news consumption. Overall, I have been trying to develop a system for myself so that I could do good work and spend my time the way I find meaningful. So far, the experiment is working and I plan to report back on my findings in the coming days.

Now, it is not an easy endeavor because, over the past few years, I have been using these technologies constantly. They have become a part of how I operate and accomplish my tasks. This is a tough order to break this habit that developed over a period of time. To find strategies, I have been reading on subjects like focus, zen, technology, and distractions and all that and the following books have helped me tremendously in the process of designing my own system.

1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
Negative; The book is a little lengthy for a book on essentialism. It could have been shorter.

2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Cal is my personal favorite. This is an excellent read. Mark Anupom Mollick has written a wonderful review of the book for Future Startup, you may check it out here.

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”

3. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

Again by Cal, again an excellent read. The length is a little long, but it is okay. You may skim through some of the pages.

“Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

4. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky

I have started reading this one last week. Written by two techies, it is a great read and comes with a lot of frameworks and systems. I’m enjoying it.

“Every time you check your email or another message service, you’re basically saying, “Does any random person need my time right now?”

Wow, that’s powerful!

Cover: Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

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Ruhul Kader is a technology business and technology policy analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at

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