Think about it: Technology makes it easier than ever to get things done.
Processes that used to eat our time can now be automated.
Meetings that used to require travel, can now be conducted using Skype, FaceTime etc.
We carry a phone in our pocket, which is a powerful computer, allowing us to get answers we need instantly no matter where we are.
Yet, we still have too little time each day. We have projects that are behind. We have things left undone, which we know we need to do.
Here’s how to turn that around!
A major reason we struggle to get things done, is that we pay way too much attention to the incoming; Facebook, Linkedin, email, Twitter, text messages… all these incoming signals and more, shout for our attention. They train us to check for updates and each time we do, we surrender our time and our attention.
Here’s the thing: What we pay attention to changes how we feel and the way we feel is responsible for what we do. So, not only does the incoming suck up our time while we check for updates, it can also lead us into an unproductive state.
Thankfully, we are in control of the incoming. With just a few simple adjustments, we can become far more productive and focused. Here’s how to regain control in 3 easy steps.
1. Limit the number of people you follow on social networks
The fewer people you follow, the less distracting the incoming becomes. Do you REALLY need to follow 500 or 5000 people on Twitter? Do you absolutely have to be in so many Linkedin groups or Facebook groups? Focus on value rather than volume.
2. Change the notification settings on your social networking apps
By default, many social network apps will notify you every time there’s activity on your account. This means you can get distracted from your work, simply because Bob liked one of your Facebook comments or Barbara sent you a smiley face on Twitter. As you may have already discovered, it’s hard to ignore your phone when it’s beeping at you or has a light flashing!
Go into the notifications settings of your social networking apps and set them to only notify you, if something worthy of your immediate attention happens. Alternatively, you can do as I do and turn automatic notifications off. You will then be able to catch up on everything, when it suits you.
3. Make email work for you, not the other way around
If someone needs you urgently, you will get a phone call. Your kids, the school, your partner, friends and clients will call you if there’s a time sensitive emergency. So, rather than have your email app running in the background checking for new messages all day, turn it on only when you have the time to read and reply to messages.
In short — Take deliberate control of the incoming, rather than being notified constantly all day. Get this right and it will make you more productive, improve your focus and allow you to think with greater clarity.