Want to get more done?
Put your phone away—it’s a productivity experiment I’ve been conducting with myself…and it seems to be working.
Less distraction. Less re-directed attention. Less feeling like I need to keep up with barbells I wish I could lift or food porn my simple easy-peasy inner chef does not have time to make.
How many times do YOU check your e–mail in a day? What about YOUR social media—Insta, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?
I don’t know if you relate, but as soon as my alarm rings somewhere between 5:30 and 6 a.m., it was only a matter of minutes until I was on my phone—checking to see what e-mails or newsfeeds I missed during the 6-8 hours while I was sleeping.
According to Chris Bailey, author of the Productivity Project, the number is something like 41-times for e-mail alone in a given day, and an average of 17 social media checks per day—beginning within the first 15-minutes of waking.
That’s 41 times of side-lined attention for e-mails and a social media check for every waking hour—checking to see if anything ground breaking is happening new e-mail came through over the course of the day.
Add an average total of 3 hours and 15 minutes time spent on our phones (outside voice calls), to many of our daily “life management” tasks, and nearly two-thirds of the day is gone!
Read: that’s 14-16 hours lost for just our phone usaage and our “daily living activities” alone—things like teeth brushing (3-minutes), showering (10-15 minutes), meal prepping (30-minutes), eating (90-minutes), commuting and driving (1-2 hours), tidying up after ourselves (15-20 minutes) and sleeping (6-8 hours).
This stat leaves most of us with only about 8-10 hours to maximize in a day, [divided amongst work, social, fitness, self-development (like reading, meditating, learning), errands, hobbies, waiting time, meetings and wasting time].
Enter: the need for productivity—making the MOST and best use out of the time you DO have to do deep, meaningful work and things you love (no wasted time here).
Here are 10 productivity hacks I’ve been practicing lately, that you should consider giving a try:
- Face the Facts. Keep a tally of how many times you check your email and/or social media every day for a week (or even just one day). Then challenge yourself: Try allotting specific 2-3 times per day for e-mails, and don’t check it unless you have the time, energy, and attention to deal with whatever might come in. For social media, consider deleting Facbook from your phone and turning off notifications for all social accounts. Oh it’s gonna be hard—real hard—but you’re gonna get so much time back!
- Rule of 3’s. Rome was not built in a day—and neither was your to-do list. Focus on doing less and getting more done. At the start of every day (or the night before), write out the top 3 things you’d like to accomplish that day. The three things that would have the most impact or leave you feeling most accomplished by the end of the day that day. Just three. Focus.
- Brain Dump. If you’re anything like me, you have a million and one “to-do’s” going through your head at any on time. And all that head space devoted to thinking about what you have to do, takes away from the productivity of actually doing it—or feeling organized with it. Clear out the clutter with brain dumps—several times per day, I grab a sticky note and piece of paper write out all the nags and reminders and “little things” piling up in my head. Then I prioritize—assigning a number order to each task, or crossing ‘em off as unnecessary, or delegating them.
- Minimize Task. The thought of doing laundry, meal prepping veggies and chicken for the week, cleaning the toilet, working out, completing a project, or calling to clarify a bill feel daunting or undesirable? Bolster up your gusto for completing the task by minimizing your task. For instance, “Ugh…I don’t feel like working out today” becomes, “Ok, maybe not an hour, but how about 20-minutes for a good workout?”… Or, “Ugh this book is taking so long to complete” becomes, “I am going to work on one chapter.” … Or, “I’ll do it tomorrow”…becomes, “If I set my timer to get it done in 5 minutes (like toilet bowl cleaning) than I can have the rest of the time to work on XYZ and feel cleaner.”
- Do it First. Do your least desirable tasks first to get them out of the way (like toilet bowl cleaning).
- Sacred Time. Guard your time like a kid and her Halloween candy. And try to minimize interruptions by lumping or assigning your time to categories. When our schedules and tasks are all over the place, such as project work at 9 a.m., meeting at 10 a.m., back to project work at 11 a.m., a phone call at 11:30 a.m., another meeting or errand to run at noon, etc., our day and productivity gets unorganized fast. Instead, try to group your deep work, creative or thought-requiring projects into one chunk of time where you can really focus, and lumping your meetings, errands and phone calls to those times outside of your most creative, energetic times of day.
- Turn It Off. Airplane mode has become my new BFF when I set aside 3-4 hour chunks in my day to do some deep work (like writing my book, a series of blogs, or creating a program). I need focus—and there’s nothing more distracting than to tempt myself with every buzz, ding or ring from my phone. Often times, I’ll even plug my phone in in the next room. Same thing goes for social media browsers on my computer and my G-mail account. I exit out of those screens, shut off notifications and get focused on what I reallllllly want to accomplish.
- AMRAP Mindset. AMRAP is a CrossFit term that means “as many rounds as possible” and it’s the mindset that I now use when it comes to efficiency with time. “What can I do in this 20-minute block between appointments?” “I only have 90-minutes, what task could most benefit from this time?” “Ok…one hour to research and write up this blog…” Get the picture? AMRAP means maximizing and working with in the allotted time frame with intensity and focus.
- Time Out. Thomas Edison did his most creative thinking when he was fishing. Brainstorming happens more freely in the shower or when we are not looking at screens. And productivity is not about time spent, but quality of time spent and focus on the task or project at hand. Taking “recess breaks” or time outs—away from work and tasks—has been game changing in my ability to do more focused productive work. And I highly encourage you to do the same—be it a mid-day workout or stretch session, time outside, a walk or coffee date with a friend, a meet-up or social event during the week, reading a leisure book, or fishing…schedule time outs to recharge.
- Future Self. Imagine your future, productive self. How does she choose to spend her time? How does she NOT waste her time? What are her secrets and habits? Be her. (So as we think, therefore we become).
Boom. Get more time.
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