Are You Addicted to Checking Notifications? Break the Habit with 5 Steps
Have you been feeling the need to conduct some digital decluttering and wonder how you can remain more focused on what is truly important instead of feeling distracted by too much nonsense? Many businesspeople and entrepreneurs need to break the habit of checking their notifications and phone all throughout the day, simply because they are missing out on life as it happens. If you carefully apply these tips, you will find yourself more relaxed and interested in real life, simply because you’re making a break from the electronic rat race.
1. Stick to a schedule.
In order to wean yourself from the habit of checking your notifications and phone so much, make a schedule. You can start with fifteen- or thirty-minute increments for checking your email and social media. Once you become better at not getting sucked into time wasting activities, increase that increment to every 45-minutes, then move up to every hour.
In addition, also set a 5-minutes timer to check and respond to the most important things. If your inbox is full, allot an extra ten- to fifteen-minutes to respond to anything that requires your input. Also, it is a good idea to inform friends, family, and colleagues that you will not be answering their calls and messages as quickly as you did previously, so that they do not worry or become anxious.
2. Be sure to shut off push notifications whenever possible.
You are not obligated to be bombarded with interruptions from your social media platforms or with messages that your favorite online podcast has just uploaded a new topic. You can greatly reduce such distractions by shutting off as many push notifications as possible. Go even further by shutting off your email and calendar notifications. If you’re on a schedule for checking email, then notifications are unnecessary.
3. Remove distracting apps.
Much of your phone usage comes from unconscious habit. Without much thinking, people shift from Instagram to Facebook, then check the weather and texts before playing their favorite game or checking their news headlines. However, if you use only specific necessary apps, then this will reduce the amount of time that is wasted on your phone. Try deleting the apps for social media sites and only use the web browser of your phone or laptop to engage. You’ll reduce time on your phone as apps make it too easy to waste time, even after your finished engaging with your followers.
4. Keep your device away from your bed.
Your phone does not have to be the last thing you see before going to sleep at night and the first thing you see in the morning. To avoid the trap of looking at your phone too much, try using an old-school alarm clock instead of your phone.
5. Use a smart speaker.
A smart speaker is valuable, because it helps you live a life away from your phone screen. When you have a smart speaker attached to your network via Bluetooth technology, this will prevent you from having to use your phone to turn on podcasts or music; instead, just say your choices to the smart speaker and go about your day, listening and learning instead of being sucked into your phone.
The longer your phone is out of your hands, the more productive you’ll become, and these tips are just the beginning of your lessened dependence on technology. You may even discover that your days feel longer because you’re not distracted with your phone or notifications any longer.
Creating Better Online Habits for a More Focused Day
Part of good personal development in regard to your business life and personal life includes creating better online habits, so that you can achieve more focus throughout your day. The more you can focus on business stuff during daytime business hours, the more time you’ll leave to focus on the important people in your life during the evening hours. These tips will help you achieve better focus and help you enjoy some de-cluttering during your time online, so that you have a day that that results in more productivity.
1. Have a plan.
Having a plan for your day – even if it’s just a simple bullet list of to-do items – will help you be more productive. Divide your business tasks from your personal errands. Some people swear by the “brain dump” method, where you write down every single thing that’s on your mind and then organize it into categories, such as Must Do, Client Work, Future Projects, or Personal Errands. Utilizing this method gets the extraneous ideas out of your mind so you can focus more clearly on the task at hand.
2. Schedule how much time you will allot for your online activities.
Try using the time block method, which entails blocking off a certain number of hours to work with coaching clients, writing your next book or course, or to reconnect with your list by scheduling a month’s worth of emails. Simply follow the plan and you’ll see your productivity increase because you know exactly what has to happen next. Try this method at home, especially with tasks you don’t enjoy, such as housework or yard work. Block off a certain amount of time and work as quickly as possible to get the job done.
3. Reduce your online to-do list.
When you are looking for a workday that results in more focus and more productivity, it is best to create a realistic list. This means you should cut some items off your list that can wait until another day or that can be delegated to a VA. Try not to do everything in one day because you will naturally run out of time. Prioritize and do the most pressing online tasks that cannot be put off. When you are not frazzled by thinking you have so many things to do online, you will produce better quality work.
4. Take a few breaks.
When you are online for a long time, your mind can start to wander. You get distracted and strive to engage in less meaningful activities, which reduces your focus and your productivity. Rather than sitting at your desk for hours on end, take some breaks throughout the day; your body and your brain will thank you. You’ll gain mental clarity about what you need to accomplish and be able to recognize when you are veering into less productive activities.
5. Do the more difficult tasks prior to lunch time.
It is highly advised to do your more challenging items before you head off to lunch. This is because your mind has more vitality in the morning and will be able to make it through the difficult tasks more quickly than if they were left to be completed in the later part of the day. This technique is sometimes called “eating the frog” and you’ll have an immediate sense of accomplishment when this one task is complete.
Avoiding distractions throughout the workday is paramount to your success, especially if you work in a home office. Start off with these five tips and you might surprise yourself with your increased productivity.
Simple but Highly Effective Ways to Reduce Your Ties to Technology Without Completely Disconnecting
It is a good idea for all of us as businesspeople and entrepreneurs, and even on a personal level, to get unplugged from technology at times. But this does not mean that we have to completely disconnect for the rest of our lives or hide out in a mountain cabin to avoid the lure of technology.
Distractions can keep you from focusing on the truly important elements related to the success of your business as well as your personal life. The good news is that your connection to the online world does not have to dominate your life anymore. You can regain the control of your life and find ways to reduce your connection to technology without having to be completely disengaged from technology all the time if you apply these practical tips.
1. Construct a space that does not house any business technology.
It’s near impossible to forego technology completely in your life but you can certainly remove your business technology from your private living quarters. This way you won’t be distracted after hours, wondering what more you can do for your clients while your family and friends wait not-so-patiently for you to finish.
Move your laptop, tablet, and mobile phone into a separate space; a spare bedroom or your home office are great locations. You do not have to be with your technology twenty-four hours per day. By placing your technology in a separate space, this means that you have to go there to access your devices. Consider this a boundary issue where you have to make a conscious decision to use the technology. That old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” is on target in this example. This strategy will reduce the number of times that you engage with your technology.
2. Avoid placing your phone near your bed.
Your sleep is disrupted because of light that is transmitted from phones and tablets. It is difficult for the brain to turn off as a result, which makes it harder to fall asleep. When your device is not near your bed, you will not be checking it before you go to sleep or when you first get up. You will feel more relaxed and will be better rested. The same is true with televisions so avoid falling asleep with the TV on.
3. Designate one day or night per week to go off the grid.
We all rely on being connected and clients do expect us to be available. But designating one day or night per week when you are away from your phone, tablet, or computer will allow you to re-engage with yourself, your family, and friends. Do inform close contacts of this time that you will be disengaging from the online world, so that they will not worry about you and will not feel snubbed.
4. Engage in more activities that are not related to being online.
Learn to relax and embrace peace and quiet by performing activities that do not require access to technology. Go biking or hiking to enjoy the great outdoors. Or maybe you need an extra-long soak in the hot tub to relax, which you have not been able to do for a long time. Spend some time reading some books or learning more of that language you have always wanted to learn.
5. Spend more time with your friends in person.
Instead of spending an hour or so texting with a friend that lives nearby, tell the person that you would rather chat in person. Meet up for coffee at your place or a nearby cafe. Bonding in person will revitalize both of you. If you can’t meet in person, make a phone date so you can enjoy that one-on-one attention and conversation.
Technology is a wonderful invention but if we don’t create our own usage rules or boundaries, it can overtake our lives. Finding a balance can be tricky but not impossible if you start off with these tips.
Do You Really Need All Those Apps? Cleaning Up the Screen and Choosing the Apps That Actually Help You
No matter your career or business niche, you’re busy and don’t need any more distractions from your tasks at hand. So why are you allowing all the apps on your phone to cause distractions when your time can be better used? It’s time to regain some of that lost time by performing a digital de-cluttering, which involves removing apps that are too distracting and that take up a lot of space on your phone.
Do you recall when the last time was that you actually made the effort to open and use all those apps that are stored on your phone? If you have not used them in the past thirty days or more, then the reality is that they are not important to your success and well-being and should be deleted.
Protect Your Data and Online Security
You probably have forgotten about many of the services that you had signed up for with those apps. In fact, having so many apps that you are not using can even be a security risk to you.
In this day of the online world and identity theft, it is truly important for you to think of your security when you have so many apps. Most apps are probably okay, but you are still putting yourself at risk of a rogue hacker behind the development of an app. For example, a person may develop an app that seems helpful, fun and good. But the person may really have ulterior motives to steal your information. Or hackers can find their way into your data by hacking their way through a less secure app that you have installed on your phone. So, clean out those extra apps that you’re not using.
Delete the Accounts, Too
Uninstalling the app is one way to clear the clutter on your phone but most of these apps required you to create an account. So, before hitting that uninstall button, login to the account and delete that as well. If you can’t remember the logins, search for emails from those apps. Once the accounts are deleted, uninstall the app from your phone. Not only does this clear clutter from your phone but you’ll clear clutter from your inbox since deleting your account should put a stop to unwanted emails.
Delete Accounts Linked to Social Media
How many times have you created an account with your Facebook or Google logins? It’s so simple, right? This is yet another security issue that needs your attention.
Head to Facebook and other social media accounts to identify which apps you have connected to those accounts. Get rid of them if you are not using them, if they are too distracting, or are not beneficial to you.
Don’t Be Intimidated by Technology
Don’t let this article frighten you away from using apps on your smartphone. They are amazing technology, no doubt; just be more selective about which apps you download.
If you really want to go “cold turkey” on eliminating apps, delete everything except your contacts and your texting app. Now, when you feel the need to download an app, you can evaluate if it’s a necessity to run your business (or your personal life) or if it’s just a bright, shiny object that will cause distractions.
For example, managing your time at your business and in your personal life may seem like a challenge but it falls into the necessity category. Rescue Time is a highly valuable app, as it shows you a report of the things that are wasting your time. As a result, you will be more aware of how to manage your time more wisely. Another highly recommended app is Mint, because money can seem to escape all too easily. But Mint will help you with that, as it takes pictures of spending transactions and categorizes them for you. Thus, you will be empowered to be in better control of your money.
Start with these tips for clearing your apps and you’ll discover you have more time and increased productivity. When you’re not distracted, you have more energy to focus on the important things in your business and in life.
5 Tips to Stay Informed in Your Industry Without Being Connected All the Time
Do you find yourself overwhelmed with keeping up with industry information because you are connected to the online world all the time? Is this interfering with you getting other things done that are related to your business? Is this need for information interfering with your personal life? The reality is that many people feel this way.
But this cycle does not have to continue. You can apply these helpful tips that will empower you to remain informed regarding your particular industry without the need to stay connected to the online world all the time. Yes, you can truly stay focused on what is most important instead of being too distracted by an overabundance of nonsense.
1. Designate blocks of time once a week to read industry news.
When you designate a particular portion of time to read your industry news, you’ll learn how to cut through what’s not important and zoom in on the most important issues. With your time blocking strategy and ability to prioritize your news, you will not be tempted to read everything that comes your way. You can pick and choose the headlines and topics that stand out the most.
2. Attend conferences to mingle and network.
Live conferences allow you the opportunity to mingle and network with thought leaders and other attendees. You will gain valuable information and will have access to fresh insights that you may otherwise not gain from the guest speakers. Not only do you have the power to network and grow your name recognition, but you also have the ability to make important connections with attendees who might become clients, customers, or joint venture partners. Also, there is more empowerment in interacting with people in your industry in a live setting instead of just being connected remotely via social media.
3. Prioritize and update your news feed.
It is truly imperative to update your news feed on your various social media accounts. This will allow you to easily access the most relevant topics instead of having to sift through so much stuff that would only waste your time. Then when you are ready to read articles or watch videos related to your industry, those items will be more readily available to you, so you won’t waste time looking for them online. Updating your newsfeed also entails unfollowing or unfriending those who don’t engage or who bring too much negativity to your newsfeed.
4. Leverage the power of your team.
Have some of your team members take turns finding relevant information pertaining to your industry. Host a weekly meeting in person if you have a physical location or host a Zoom video meeting where they can post the information or links to information and their thoughts and ideas regarding the information. A private Facebook Group would also serve this purpose. This way you will not miss out on industry news and you will not be required to stay connected to the online world all the time.
5. Subscribe to relevant trade journals.
It is not an antiquated practice to subscribe to trade journals, as trade journals really still do exist. They provide relevant information and delete the junk for you plus they have digital subscriptions you can read online. Designate a particular time to read the trade journals in order to stay informed about what is happening in your industry. If you travel by plane frequently as part of your business, make that a time when you can read your trade journals. Doing so will allow you to reserve other time for other important things related to your business or personal life.
Making the most of your time is important for your business so get creative when it comes to staying current on industry news. Fortunately, you can stay connected to your industry without giving up your precious free time by following these tips.