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Train Yourself to Stop Wasting Time on BS

Obsessing over the little things can erase time for the things that matter. One website can help you reward yourself for balancing your mental checkbook of petty obligations.

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BY Ross Rubin - 16 May 2017

hourglass with dollar inside (time is money concept)

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Making the right decisions is the foundation of success for a great leader. That demands focus, something that's often difficult to achieve when having to manage a seemingly endless array of details.

Breaking free of those mental chains requires separating what's important from the distractions. Sticky-note to-do lists start to not cut it. According to author Sarah Knight, who celebrates leaving behind unwanted tasks in her best-selling book about caring less, we have to learn to objectively categorize two elements of your decision-making process: tracking things we care about versus those we don't and balancing efforts spent on them like funds in a checkbook.

One website that can help sticking to that kind of regimen is Habatica, makes use of gamification. Gamification can apply the mechanics of a video game -- like fulfilling a quest or defeating a monster -- to your daily tasks and habits which you want to improve on. Habatica claims more than two million users have used its service.

Breaking down your goals into different categories helps you define exactly where you need to make your next move. A service like Habitica adds a sense of consequence. You get to see a genuine result of a successfully completed task in gold or jewels and feel the pain of missing a goal by having your character lose their health points.

And if you need to light an even bigger fire under you, you can sign up with other people and join their groups. The individuals in the groups have to complete their goals or else everyone is penalized. What's even cooler is the science behind gamification. The release of emotion-enhancing hormone dopamine -- which makes you feel good when you complete a task in a video game -- helps to bring more joy to potentially mundane tasks. That can help make diversion the enemy of distraction.



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