17 Sep Digital Distraction Dejunking – How I got my mind back!
Ping! You have a new Facebook request! Joe commented on your pin! #Tweet! Accept my LinkedIn request! New email! Your Two Dots lives have regenerated! Look at me. LOOK at me…. LOOK AT ME!
Being the digital crack addict I am, I couldn’t wait for the next notification so I could tap away on my game of Godus or The Simpsons. I feel like my phone, laptop and desktop are all 5 year old snot nosed kids pawing at my pants for attentions.
With each notification, I felt my brain getting cloudier. Focusing for more than five minutes? HA! Nope, oh look Tall Chess! 35 games at the same time? Sure!
Two hours later…
My productivity at work sucked. I used Rescue Time to track it it. 40%? Yep that means I worked two days out of the week. What did I do with the other three?
After a bad board meeting and discontent with my job led me to search for my true passion (outlined in another post), I found my self watching TED Talks, reading post by Tim Ferris, diving into productivity hacks, watching cat videos (of course!), but eventually ended up disgusted with how I was wasting my time.
I mean come on. Cat videos? Like I want to look back 20 years from now and think, “Oh heck yes, that was time well spent!”.
So in order to make a difference in this world I needed to make a change in me. Objective one: Get back my mind space! Eliminate digital distractions.
If you’re like me I encourage you to do the same. It’s liberating. Do the following:
- Eliminate push notifications on all devices – doing so will make sure you control when you get email, snapchats, text, etc. This eliminates all interruptions and allows you to focus solely on what you want, single tasking.
- Set your Do Not Disturb Settings – An hour before you go to bed and an hour after you wake up. This allows me to actually go to sleep instead of texting my sweetie all night long and hating myself in the morning. My brothers tend to talk via a group text between us at the wee hours of the night. That ding notification at 2am….about makes you pee a little with fright! Then you’re so scared you start wondering if you should go pee but don’t want to leave the safety of your covers.
- Unsubscribe from all emails – Do this with any you haven’t actively read in three weeks. You know the ones you see and delete right away without opening them? Yep just end the madness. You wont even miss deleting those 23 emails every morning when you wake up. You inbox should be for real people, not marketing emails. If needed, create a separate email just for “junk mail” and check it at the end of the day.
- Don’t check email in the morning – Doing this will only fill your head with all the things you have to do and start stressing you out. Keep that mind clear and focused on the major goals for the day that you plan to tackle that morning. Email can wait.
- Turn your phone off – At work, at the movies, at dinner with friends, etc. I find this helps me get double the work done everyday because I’m no longer switch-tasking. According to The Myth of Multitasking, you lose 5-10 minutes of time every time you stop a task to check and respond to your phone. Your mind get’s off track and it takes time to get it back on track again. If you can’t turn it off, then put it on Do Not Disturb. I know, I know. Baby Steps.
- Close out your inbox – For those of you who work at a desk like me, I find it’s easiest to just close my Gmail and not check it until before lunch and then again before heading home. This gives me a full 3-4 hours everyday to just focus and work and actually accomplish task. When I complete task, I’m happy.
- Meditate – I know this isn’t actually “digital” per say but it helps reclaim the mind. I don’t know the first thing about meditating but I’ve found that this app, Head Space, is awesome. It’s free for the first 10 lessons and walks you through how to do it. So far after each session I feel a little more calm inside and more focused. It’s only ten minutes a day, so try it out.
It’s been a few weeks and so far these are my results:
- My Rescue Time productivity has increased to 70%
- My mind is calmer, clearer, more focused
- I’m get tons of task done at work which means no more 45+ hour work weeks
- I’m living more in the moment. I value my relationships more and feel them strengthening.
- I sleep more. More sleepy time = Happy Pete.
Feel free to give it a try! Let me now how your own experiment goes.