As society progresses, our lives have become more complex. Everyday is a battle with an ever-growing list of tasks and responsibilities, not to mention a bursting email inbox. On top of that, we have to constantly deal with distractions from the Internet as well as keep up with a myriad of social media networks or risk losing online popularity. As a result, many of us have lost sight of the important goals in life or wished there were more time to do more things!

Are we close to insanity? Probably yes!

There must be a way to regain control of my life, I thought.

Then I remembered when I was studying architecture, my tutor taught me to use a datum to create a sense of order among disparate elements. It is like a point of reference where formal elements can relate to it in specific ways, thus ensuring that the eventual building is a harmonious whole.

So why not use a datum to create a point of reference for your daily activities too?

After some experimentation, I found that I am comfortable with using the number '4' as a datum to rationalize my daily activities and focus on important goals:

  • I split my working hours into '4' 2-hour chunks. Everyone has a different attention span within which he/she can focus on doing the same piece of work, so experiment to find out yours. If you have a problem with discipline, you may wish to try the Pomodoro technique. It is a method for breaking up a large piece of work into 25-min chunks with the help of a timer. You can find more about this technique by searching for "Pomodoro" online.
  • I focus on '4' challenges and will only take on new challenges after conquering all of them. It ensures that I do not spread my attention and energy too thinly and risk doing sub-quality work (or worse, procrastinate!).
  • I keep my weekly concerns to '4' areas such as money, family, health and volunteering, and rotate them according to my progress each week.
  • I have only '4' tasks in my daily list and I don't add a new one after I have completed all of them. This stops me from writing a long list of tasks as a way to avoid doing them (yes, writing a lengthy task list can give a false sense of accomplishment. It is procrastination in disguise.)!

So go ahead and create a datum for your daily activities. It can simplify your life and helps you regain focus in an age of distraction and busywork!