Let me share with you one of my shortcomings. My mind comes up with a new, brilliant, game-changing idea, every day. OK, maybe not every day. Every other day. It is the implementation and follow through of these ideas that plague me. It’s possible I have shiny object syndrome where I want something shiny, and then after a week I want something else that’s shiny (my 8 year old daughter suffers from this so maybe it is genetic).
Maybe it’s just bad habits. I decided to read a few books about how habits are built thinking I can build some good ones on my own. Nothing seemed to stick though. I wrestle with the wasted time sometimes and try to convince myself that, “I earned this time to waste”. I even heard the term, “escapism” and I thought, “FINALLY, someone understands my need to check out”.
Another thought was it might be a simple time management issue. This is a distinct possibility, again, because I can get sidetracked and lost in something that grabs my attention. I have read books and talked to people, trying to understand why my mind wanders and stays fixed on the point it wandered too.
Now, to be clear. I am not talking about a massive amount of time being wasted. I have built a really nice business, and continue to work hard, but have this carnal need to be as efficient as possible. If I could work the same hours every week and increase my production by 10% it would be amazing. What about 20%? I think it’s possible.
Step 1. Track your phone use
Here are a few changes that I have made that are leading me on the right track. I started tracking the amount of time I am on my iphone and use an app called “Moment“. I recommend everyone use this app for a month (I don’t care if it drains your battery a little). It blew my mind when I saw how much I was on my phone.
Since I started using it, I have shaved an entire hour per day off my phone use. According to Moment users, the average time someone spends on their phone is, 3 hours 52 minutes. Think about that. My average is down to 2 hours and 42 minutes per day. I pick up my phone an average of 38 times per day against the 51 times average Moment user do. One day, I picked up my phone 87 times!
I plunked down the $5 for the paid version and it reminds me every 15 minutes that I am on my phone. It helps to wake me up out of the deep, dangerous, enticing and lithium powered rabbit hole. My IPhone is an integral part of my life and I love having it. I can communicate quickly with anyone, I can share pictures or videos with family or the entire world, I can watch movies, listen to 40 million songs, play games and more.
What if my usage came down to 2 hours a day, or even 1 hour a day? They say time is the most valuable currency, so what if I can recapture 2 hours EVERY DAY. What would you do with 2 extra hours a day?
Step 2- Fearsome Focus
I would say, use it wisely. My friend and author of “The Power of an Hour”, Dave Lakhani would say that you can get an enormous amount of work done in a hour. When is that last time you tried to do an hour of uninterrupted work? Actually the optimal amount of time we can focus with great intensity before your mind starts to wander is 45 minutes. Then you can follow it with 15 minutes of downtime. Give yourself a task that you want to complete. Shut off everything that can steal your focus such as your smartphone (use airplane mode), your email client and the phone on your desk. Shut your door and get to your task. Listen to my interview with Dave here.
You will find, that you will complete your task in about half the time you thought it would take. It is enlightening. Suddenly you realize that you can get twice as much done as you thought. If you opened up 2 hours of time a day from your phone, you have just quadrupled the amount of work you can achieve in the same amount of time.
This all looks great on paper, but there is some discipline involved. You truly have to commit to the process. You will find yourself reaching for your phone because that is what you have done every 12 minutes for 5 years. It’s a tough habit to break but it can be the difference between feeling frazzled, and feeling at peace at the end of the day.
Step 1.5. Create list for your hour.
The best way to prepare for these sessions is to have your tasks laid out for the day. The night before, or first thing in the morning, write down what you want to complete. You have to be ready and aware of what you need and want to get done. A task list is something that is necessary or you will just be a slave to the dings, whistles and notifications that come your way. You need to be working reactively instead of proactively.
After running a business for 13 years, these are the things that I have found to allow me to squeeze the most of my day. Start small with some bite size blocks of time. One hour a day twice a week for instance. Then increase from there. You can get so much done with two hours per day of this kind of focus. It will allow you to feel more accomplished, you will get a lot more done, and because of that, you will feel more in control of every aspect of your life.