many professionals outside of the military have turned to sun tzu’s art of war for lessons on competing in the business world. to me, one of the most important lessons is learning to bring your enemy out onto the battlefield of your choosing. inherently, i think we all know and understand the importance of this one lesson, yet so few of us practice it on a daily basis.

we sit around at our computers waiting for them to chirp and chime while our phones ring and buzz with notifications, alerting us to the next message it’s time to focus on. the new ‘most important’ person in our day.

perhaps instead of jumping at the next vibration or turning our heads at the first notification that pops up, what if we start to set the rules instead? block out time in our day where we’ll focus on what we want to focus on. an hour here to reply to all emails, another hour there to review the reports of the day, another there for—dare i say it, having a lunch break.

we need to stop being so responsive to others’ demands and start to work on our own terms.