Your Most Powerful Tool or Your Biggest Distraction?

Hint 😉 –  Most of us have it!

Today, our phones are one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal! We can do just about everything on our phones for both our business and personal needs. Of course from the obvious tasks like sales calls, follow ups and emails to paying bills. And now we can even accomplish a lot of our online marketing needs on these all too fabulous devices. As one of my besties would say about all these advances: “It’s Fantasmical” (fantastic and magical all at once). 

It is not, however, all hunky dory all the time! As much as this “fantasmical” tool is helpful, it can also be detrimental and contribute to our lack of focus. Of course, it’s not the phone itself, but everything we can access on it! How many times have you told yourself “just a quick check-in to…” only to find yourself still on that app 10-15 minutes later? I’m willing to bet you if you are honest is not that rare. I can tell you, for me, it’s much too often. And there’s more; it is easy for one app to lead to another and so forth. The cycle can be vicious!

Obviously, all this is not privy just to your mobile device; we have all the apps, social media, email notifications, pop-up ads, etc. coming to us via laptops and desktops. I’m focusing on phones because we have them on us all the time. Whereas even though our laptops are also “mobile,” we don’t typically have them on us and open all the time. And our phones/mobile devices can also post a distraction while we are working on our laptops and desktops. We can also go into how these marvelous devices take away from our ability to connect with each other in social situations, but we’ll digress from our focus here which is productivity.

This constant demand for our attention all leads to massive distraction and even worse, multi-tasking! Research now has shown that our brains can only focus on one particular thing at a time successfully. While we all may be able to switch from one task to another quickly, we are not truly multi-tasking, we are only diverting our attention from one part of the brain to another. This switching not only reduces our performance, but it also robs us of precious time and resources. Several studies even show a reduction on Iq and brain density stemming from multi-tasking!

Eek!

 

But let’s get down to business here.

Of course, there are a lot of benefits to staying focus. And the more we learn, we now realize that there are significant gains from focusing on one task at a time. Some of these benefits are increased productivity, completing challenging projects in less time, gain more time, have less stress, enjoy your daily tasks more and an overall happier existence.

So… What can we do to reduce distractions and multi-tasking? The first thing you can do is make the decision to do so.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The next thing is to stay committed to your decision! Ahh… So hard, right!?

“There’s always a way – if you’re committed.”

– Tony Robbins

Ok, you made the decision to make “focus” a priority, and you are committed to your success! Sweet! Since we are focusing on your mobile device as a distraction, we’ll start with just the phone. By keeping things simple and making only a few changes at once, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Let’s look at three simple things you can do to stick to your commitment.

  • Easy! Put your phone on Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb or you can always turn it off altogether when you are working on other tasks that do not require you to use your phone. 

 

  • This one is hard! Do not go for your phone first thing when you wake up. What you do first thing in the morning, helps set the tone for the rest of your day. When you go for that phone first thing and proceed to check email and/or your social media, you will disrupt your focus for the next several hours and possibly the remainder of the day. In addition to that, it will awaken other yucky things like stress hormones as you immediately go into “response” mode. And it will limit your ability to experience flow and to tackle your most important tasks first as opposed to everyone else’s.

 

  • Use it wisely, and it can actually save you time! Yes, it’s not all bad! Put that smart device to good use and make it work for you. One of the most excellent time-saving things you can use it for is meetings and collaboration. Save commuting time and schedule FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Skype calls from anywhere. The other is to use that calendar to work for you as opposed to against you and help you block out the times you need to be more productive at everything you set out to do.

Easy enough right? If we can accomplish our three most important tasks without interruptions each day, how much extra time and energy can we have? I’ll be writing a second part to this post with even more productivity hacks to help us achieve higher performance in less time.

There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.

 -Leo Tolstoy 

Your turn! Are you implementing any of the tips above? Are they working for you? Do you have others you’d like to share? Let’s connect and let me know here!

 

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