How Self-Control Works, and How to Boost Your Willpower by Better Understanding It at Lifehacker includes some thoughts on the subject, since being able to stay focused requires willpower. My favorite thought was the first one, practice.
The article suggests picking something you do in excess and practice not doing it for a week. And once you can not do it for a week, practice not doing it for another. Work up to a month. A month is supposed to be a significant time in terms of changing behavior. I think I've read six weeks elsewhere, but you get where they're going with this.
Now, I see two things going on with practicing not doing something:
- You're toughening up willpower and improving focus in general. I can't find my support for this, but I've read that improving willpower/discipline in one area of your life should improve it in others. Thus, if I could develop the discipline to not eat all the time I'm cooking, I could, presumably, not have to read articles about Chip and Joanna Gaines or hunt up actors on-line while I'm watching them on TV in the evening. We believe that monks and athletes have iron focus. Maybe because discipline in one area of their lives transfers to another?
- If you practice not doing something time consuming, you could end up with some more time. For instance, practicing not reading those articles about Chip and Joanna Gaines and not hunting on-line for info on actors will leave me more time for blogging and relaxing in the evening, since, I swear, that's the only time I do those things. You can always practice not doing time consuming during the work day.