Live the (Stress-Free) Life You Want: Prioritizing for Happiness

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Step 1. Wean Yourself from Distractions

No matter how stretched thin and overbooked you feel, there are steps you can take to create more time and reduce that stressed-out, too-busy feeling.

1. Wean yourself from distractions. A powerful modern addiction is "screensucking": wasting time engaged with any screen, whether it's a computer, television, or BlackBerry. Each may seem like a tool to help you communicate, use time efficiently, or just unwind, but their use gets out of hand easily and cuts into time better spent on more nourishing sources of connection. The kids are asleep, the chores are done -- this is your time to do what matters to you, yet you slide into a zombie-like state, glommed on to the screen. You sit long after the work is done or the show you wanted to watch is over -- not especially enjoying what you are doing but unable to disconnect.

Do whatever you have to do to break this habit. While we don't have a "patch" to help people quit screensucking, we do have the combination of insight and structure. Recognize your problem, then make changes in your behavior and environment. For example, put an alarm clock next to your screen to signal when you've gone past a certain amount of time, or program your computer to beep every 10 minutes.

Continued on page 4:  Step 2: Plan Your Strategy


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