There are 24 hours in a day. Yep, it surprised me too. Contrary to what some say – that’s plenty. You can fit the gym, work and a Chapter of that book you’re reading in each day, if you really want to.
Living and working in a Digital Age comes with its distractions. Our online lives, work lives and home lives all bleed into one, pressuring us all to constantly be “on”, contactable and responsive.
I’ve been reading Stephen R.Covey‘s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly effective people‘ and it really made me stop and re-assess how little time I spend “smelling the flowers”. I don’t want to arrive at 50 before I realise that me time is precious and an integral part to leading a balanced and prosperous life.
I found this great article called “9 Things every entrepreneur needs to learn from Woody Allen.” and it reinforced for me that successful people aren’t necessarily working any harder – just smarter.
We live in such a results oriented society, we put large amounts of pressure on ourselves to achieve and succeed immediately. I believe this pressure creates skewed expectations and blurs the line between being productive and unproductive. Time away from work is time lost, when really it should be time treasured.
Plato said “The part can never be well unless the whole is well” and success surely lies with those that are well-rounded.
I want to exist offline as much as I do online and I know I’m not alone on this.
Small, achievable goals lead to greater accomplishments and keeping goals manageable will also keep you committed.
Starting with phones –
- BlackBerry/iPhone/Android – Our phones have become our lives. A one stop shop for our connection with the world. They keep us organised and entertained. They also allow for distraction and disconnection.
Challenge: Checkout. It’s possible to turn your phone off one night a week after work. As soon as you exit your workspace. Ride the train home/ drive home without it on. Take note of what you replace that time with. It’s interesting what we choose to do when we have choice to dictate how we use our time. If switching it off on a weeknight is completely impossible, pick one day on the weekend. Take a holiday from your smartphone.
“The real problem of leisure time is how to keep others from using yours.” – Arthur Lacey
Then there’s the internet –
- Internet browsing/Social Media – Social Media is a large part of my life and I’m a strong advocate of the digital world but when it starts to eat into your productivity, as well as your down time, boundaries are necessary.
Challenge: It can wait. Logout of all your Social Media profiles. Make it harder for them to be a click away. Login once tomorrow and once only. Choose the morning or the night but restrict it to 20 minutes. If like me, your Social Media notifications are pushed through to your smartphone, make sure that you leave checking these notifications till later, again, allowing 20 minutes to flick through what’s important and what’s not and move on.
For the super addicted in need of outside help – the following are all programs you can use to curb your online procrastination
There’s also True Time Tracker which will help you understand just how much time you’re spending watching videos, checking emails or ‘working’.
All in all – Don’t let today be devoured by distractions.
Be present, switching off long enough to really engage with the world around you.
Leave work at the office. Find a source of inspiration each week. Keep living. Keep learning.
One day, all you will have is your memories – make them worthwhile.
“I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” Stephen R. Covey