Have you ever been curious as to how much time you spend on your phone? Are you afraid to know? Do you think you have an addiction to your phone?
In the business world, there’s a common quote from Peter Drucker that goes like this:
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
I think it’s impossible to understand how much time you spend on your phone unless you make a conscious effort to track it. Luckily, there is an app called Moment that will show you how much time you spend on your phone on a daily basis.
“You can actually complete a project by dropping it.” – Arianna Huffington
I could try to write a full blown blog post about wasting time but luckily, I don’t have to. I’d rather be efficient and refer to this keynote by Arianna Huffington a couple of years ago that I was lucky enough to attend.
Jump to the 17:53 mark to get to my favorite part of her talk although if you have the time, I found many great nuggets of wisdom throughout.
The only thing I will add personally to her keynote is that there are many people out there telling you do something or use something to help you improve your life (including yours truly).
Try it. But if it doesn’t work for you, shut it down. Find something else that works for you.
Why do you think there are multitudes of successful to-do list applications? Should you use Todoist or Wunderlist or 2Do or ToodleDo or Any.Do or Google Keep or OneNote or Remember the Milk or OmniFocus?
They all can share market space because we all work differently.
As Arianna says, drop things with clarity. If you know it doesn’t work for you, no matter how many people you trust suggest you try it, dump it.
By not continuing to waste your time, you ultimately save time.
Fantastic in theory. Total disruption in practice.
Badges kill your productivity and they most likely make you feel like a lazy piece of crap.
If you have an iPhone or iPad or even an Apple computer, you know what badges are. (I’m assuming other products have the same.) Maybe not by name but they are in your face all day, every day.
The most common badge that people know is the one that shows the number of new emails that you have. I recently saw a friend’s email badge that had 5 digits.
That’s 10,000 plus.
Don’t read any further. Just look at that number for 10 seconds.
How is that not a recipe for disaster? If this was my inbox, I would probably quit life.
The crazy thing is that I see this ALL THE TIME.
When I ask people about it, I usually get one of a select few common answers.
“I hate it”
“Is that what that’s called?”
“Can I turn it off?”
For this post, I’m going to offer up one quick and simple solution.
Turn off ALL badges, especially your Email badge.
On your iOS device, follow these steps:
Go into Settings
Click on Notifications
Click on Email
Click on Badge App Icon to toggle it off
The reason why you should do this is so that you don’t constantly have ANY number staring you in your face that will compel you to look at it.
If you have a large number, it’s going to make you feel miserable. It will be a constant reminder that you are behind – that you have a lot of emails that you need to look at (that you probably never will).
Hopefully, at your own designated time, you will look at your emails. It will be on your own terms. That shouldn’t change whether you have 2 or 10 or 50 emails.
Ask yourself, what purpose does seeing your email count serve?
Earlier, I mentioned that you should turn off all your badges. I would say that keeping your Phone badge on is probably a good thing so you know if you missed a call. But even keeping the Calendar badge on is debatable.
And if you don’t believe me, believe these people.
Are you overwhelmed by your news feed on a daily (or even hourly) basis?
After a long time, I begrudgingly started using Twitter. My profile says I joined in 2008 but it was probably a few years after that when I started to see the benefits.
I wouldn’t tweet myself but I was getting a lot of great information from a lot of different sites. The world was my oyster!
In the middle of last year, I took a step back and realized that I was following about 200 twitter handles. The accounts I was following ranged from my favorite sports teams, to software I use, to random news sites.
My twitter account’s feed was now pumping out more stuff than one could take in, regardless of the short character count allowed.
I was spending more time on Twitter to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important.
I was overwhelmed.
Worse, everything had the same priority. There was no ability to focus on what was important.
Something had to change.
Use a Twitter List to increase your focus on what’s important
My simple solution was this.
Twitter has a feature where you can organize twitter accounts into lists. So I created a list called ‘Focus.’
This new dedicated Twitter Focus list includes only those accounts that I deem important for me to stay current with at a particular point in time.
Those currently include:
New software that I’m trying out
A few favorite productivity and efficiency accounts
Software / tools that I use frequently
People that inspire me
As I write this, I now follow a total of 72 tweeters but only have 24 members in my Focus list.
During the course of the day, I only watch that Focus list.
When I have some free time to kill, I will look at my full feed. Perhaps it’s at lunch or in the evening when I’m winding down and relaxing.
For me, this was life-altering. It’s all I could talk about and think about for about a month straight.
I purged. I donated. I did it all. (Ok, maybe not all since I’m still not finished.)
Recently I was asked to be interviewed by the great folks at UnStuckable and also to write a guest post about my experience with purging. Granted, I was nowhere near the level of these tv examples.
In the podcast and the article (links coming soon), you’ll get a pretty good picture of the benefits I found in doing a huge purge.
I can’t recommend it enough.
Decluttering and purging brings great focus
What I don’t elaborate in those pieces much is that purging brings great focus.
Here are some random office examples and the benefits they brought me:
My desk is now clear, which allows me not to be distracted
Computer cables and adapters have been severely minimized and stored, decreasing the time and hassle of finding what I need
Getting rid of office supplies frees up drawer space that can be utilized more efficiently. No need for finding other ways to store things (i.e. another cabinet)
Books have been donated allowing only those that I truly value to take up space. One large bookcase has been removed (out of two)
My new office space is a place where I can now focus, increasing my efficiency and productivity. Not only that, I love being in there now!
Tidy Up Your Task List
Don’t stop at your physical space. Bring this concept to everything you do, including your task lists.
I recently met a client who uses task management software. When I glanced at it, I saw a list about 30 items long. And that was just what I could see on the screen. That list went on for a few screens.