Find focus by closing open loops

March 3, 2019

Feeling overwhelmed? Wish you had more focus?

Ideally, you'd go on a vacation, away from your devices and your other usual distractions. When you give your brain time to relax, it will soon run out of steam worrying about everything you still want to do.

But maybe you don't have time to go on vacation right now. In that case:

Close your open loops.

An open loop is any task, project, obligation, commitment, "want", "need", or "should" that you haven't completed or dropped yet. And every open loop takes up unnecessary mental space, which is then not available to use on the task that's right in front of you, right now.

Here are a few ways to close open loops:

  • Say "no" when people ask you to do something
  • Drop existing projects
  • Write down everything you have to do (for example, in OmniFocus)
  • Identify your three most important tasks, rank them, and start with number one

When you feel overwhelmed, it's tempting to keep going. You want to do more than there seems to be time for, so the last thing you want is to sit still!

But realize that feeling overwhelmed is a mental state. And so, it has a mental solution.

Close those open loops.


— Peter

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