focus on the the important

[“90%”, which I sent out recently in the newsletter. You can buy the print here etc.]

[Today’s guest post is from minimalist maven,  Everett Bogue.]

How to Eliminate Distractions to Focus on the Important

In the modern age it’s so difficult to focus on the important.

It’s not entirely your fault. For the last few generations the televisions told us to want everything, then Internet gave us infinite options. It’s no wonder no one can concentrate on their art, we’ve never had the ability to do everything for 30 seconds a day.

Why focus when you can spend all day hitting the refresh button on your email?

It’s important to take time to remember how to focus.

The most successful people realize that in order to create anything meaningful, they need to turn it all off. In order to do anything that matters, you need cultivate a healthy atmosphere of complete silence in order make a difference in your own life and change the world.

Leo Babauta is focused on the essentials. He’s limited his life to the minimum in order to focus on the important. Now he runs the of top 25 blog Zen Habits and published his print book The Power of Less.

Tammy Strobel is focused on using simplicity to save the world. She encourages her readers to give up their gas-guzzlers for pedal power, to exchange your stuff for the elegance of living with less.

Colin Wright is focused on living anywhere. He lives with less 51 things and moves to a new continent every 4 months. He runs a zero-overhead sustainable design and marketing studio from anywhere in the world.

Ashley Ambirge is focused on challenging the status-quo. She’s just getting started as the world’s leading rebel against mediocrity, even if that means living in a basement (for now) in exchange for the opportunity to travel to every corner of the earth.

Focusing on the important doesn’t have to be complicated.

For the last six months I’ve been investigating the implications of living with less — the minimalist existence. This journey started with quitting my day job and hopping on a plane to Portland, OR with everything I owned in a bag. This investigation continues daily as I explore the true implications of turning it all off to focus on the important in order to make work that matters.

The answer is pretty simple, everyone buys and does too much stuff. They’re over-extended to the point that no one knows what they’re doing anymore. Anyone who’s not making things (or not making good things) isn’t “not creative enough”, instead they’ve been hypnotized into thinking that junk and wasting time matters more than discovering their true purpose.

The secret to focusing on the important is simple:

  • Turn off the TV.
  • Donate your junk.
  • Turn off your smart phone.
  • Quit your day job.
  • Stop buying stuff that doesn’t matter.
  • Cultivate silence.
  • Work on your art.
  • Have your own ideas.
  • Push for change.
  • Do something that matters.

All of that nonsense they told you to buy isn’t going to make you happy.

The only thing that is important making art that matters.

The only way to make art that matters is to focus on the important.

[Everett Bogue is the author of The Art of Being Minimalist and blogger at Far Beyond The Stars.]

[The “Remember Who You Are” archive is here.]

[Download the high-res “Remember Who You Are” poster here.]


  1. All so true my friend. All so true.
    I am working through the same process of finding my art. My passion.

    I have two daughters(5 and 7) and am proud to be teaching them the appreciate the simple things in life.

    Being a single father forced me to be a minimalist of sorts, and seeing them develop their talents without a television or radio has been a joy.

  2. This kind of post resets the dial, a course correction, which we constantly need reminded of. On purpose. Thank you.

  3. I just checked out each of those links and you know what? None of them were very important.

    Turning the computer off now to get some work done. Cheers.

  4. What’s your advice to people who have real demands on their time — demands that are important, and can’t in good conscience be shut off like a noisy TV?

    I’d like to hear from Teevee too, since he mentioned young kids, which represent the most common important distraction.

  5. Everett, great post, thanks.

    Grateful to be finding more people like yourself sharing reminders of who we are and how to get back to that/there.

    Hope you’ll be going to the Wisdom 2.0 Conference It’s looking like there are going to be quite a few like-minded people there: the start of something new…

    In gratitude,

  6. I am with you bar one.
    Hardly anyone is able to quit their day job because that underpins the provision of necessary support for family, (and for many also the provision of necessary services and products to society).

    They are called “dependants” for a reason, otherwise they would just be “folks you hang-out with”.

    Switching of the TV is a good step, and there is a fair bit of research on how a few choices are good, but a plethora of them just makes people anxious, unhappy, and stressed.


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