focus

Create More time and Minimize Distractions with these 4 steps

If you are like me, it's hard for you to keep your hands off your phone when you get a message or when a new notification pops up.

I used to struggle with how easily I could slip down the social media rabbit hole. It would happen many times a day when I was just "quickly checking on something." And suddenly time went by.

It made me feel lousy that I was wasting so much time, plus I felt I didn’t have any control over myself! I was constantly late and behind schedule and that meant my days got longer as I tried to fit everything in. I was always wondering, where does all the time go?

When I tracked what was causing the distractions and how much time I was wasting online every day, I decided it was vital to set clear boundaries for myself (my mind actually), so I could keep my focus and get things done efficiently - and feel good about myself in the process.

It requires true willpower to stay away from the phone when it’s the alarm clock; social and business network; entertainment system; library; assistant; and office. And that really is what our mobile device represents to us nowadays.

It's difficult to resist because we are talking about something that is extremely addictive.

Mobile phones, email, and social media wire our brains in ways it's not accustomed to being wired.

We have started to believe that we need to be contactable and available at all times. Our brain has got so distracted and disturbed that we don’t actually know how to be present without doing anything but enjoying ourselves and paying attention to the life we are living.

I believe we are talking about a bigger problem than we yet even realize.

Many believe they are the only one suffering with certain issues, and that everyone else lives happy stress-free lives. That’s a social media bubble and it’s not true.  

It's so easy to grab your phone first in the morning. Then, before even waking up properly; without setting up the day; or even saying good morning to yourself or to anyone else, your rat race has started and your day is already being driven by the demands of your phone.

It will ruin your day if you open up a message that immediately activates your stress hormones.

This could be an email that you need to react to right away; something bad you see in the news; maybe you find out there’s a huge catastrophe at work; or you discover your ex has met someone new.

Whatever it is, it can immediately cause angst. Negative thoughts and emotions then quickly run out of your control and your day starts in the wrong mood!

All the wonderful communication possibilities mobile devices offer can make you feel like you can’t lead your life, or never even have enough time to live your days, peacefully.

This can be changed. You can either give your power away or choose to respect yourself; your priorities; the connection with your loved ones; and your well-being, by setting clear boundaries.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Switch off all unnecessary notifications and put your phone on silent when you need to focus. Leave your phone in another room if its presence haunts you on your desk.

  2. Create a morning routine and start your day by being present, focusing on your breathing for a while or with a short meditation.

  3. Create clarity around your schedule and set intentions for your days.

  4. Take breaks and recharge yourself, so your brain is not exhausted continuously. Do nothing for a couple of minutes in between all the “doing”.

The benefits are clear:

  • When there are no constant beeps and pop-ups, there won't be any temptation to react and respond to those notifications. You, therefore, won't be sucked into your inbox or into a social media hole for hours.  

  • You are more mindful of what happens and how you feel, and can then react and respond to events mindfully.

  • You will have more energy, clarity, and time.

  • Switching off your notifications is a fast and straightforward way to increase your productivity and your ability to stay calm and focused: you will feel happier as you are mastering your schedule and creating a better day for yourself - which is what we all want!

How valuable would that be for you?

Leave a comment letting me know how you manage distractions or what is causing problems for you. Ask questions! What rules have you set around your phone and internet usage and how well are those rules working for you?

To help you create successful, intentional days, you can download the printable daily page of my Clarity Planner.  

Love, Jenni

Simple Way to Boost Productivity and Increase Focus

I have been the biggest procrastinator I know and the habit caused me a lot of struggle and self-doubt as I was just not able to follow through my plans and desires. (By Gretchen Rubin's framework my tendency type is Rebel, meaning that I often resist all, inner and outer, expectations - mostly my own).  

It has been a huge learning curve for me to learn how to say no, also for myself, and set boundaries, when I just want to do this and that quickly, and ideas pop up in my head, which just distracts me (nowadays I write the them down “for later” so that I make myself to believe that I don't miss a thing).

I know so many of us who work themselves or manage their own time and schedule and struggle a lot with their time management. I wanted to share a technique with you that helps to get things fast and efficiently and it helps you to commit your goals and tasks.

 

How to increase your productivity, do things efficiently and keep your focus? 

This is called Pomodoro method (Pomodoro means tomato in Italian), which is amazing when you don’t have much time and you want to get things done fast and optimize your time and effort.

Many people use way too much time for simple things as they just don’t do it. This method increases your productivity when you start using it (and it makes you happier). 

Francesco Cirillo was cutting tomatoes when he got the idea of the Pomodoro Technique on the 80’s. 

How would it feel for you if you would feel complete at the end of every day?

First of all (this is my preparation advice):

  • Plan your months, weeks and days (read here how to do it and download the free daily planner).

  • Splitting your time in chunks keep you on your happy tracks.

  • Clarify the outcome what you want and need to do.

  • What would make you feel complete with the task?

  • What is the tiny little thing that you need and want to get done?

  • Minimize all the distractions: email, phone, social media accounts - everything that could distract you.

Then we are getting into the traditional Pomodoro method:

  • Set the timer for 25 minutes.

  • Start working - you only have to work for 25 minutes, so it’s not a big deal right?

  • When the alarm peeps, take a 5-10 minute break.

Repeat for four times (100 minutes) and then take a longer 20-minute break (great time for meditation, just taking it easy, get some fresh air and empty your mind).


Why it works?

1) You set a clear intention for what you want to achieve.

2) You minimize all the distractions and focus 100% and you will get more done in 20 minutes than in hours.

3) You allow yourself to work in small time junks, which is so much easier than climbing to the huge mountain at once and feel overwhelm by it!

4) Small steps - fantastic accomplishments and you will feel complete, satisfied and rewarded after you are done.

Don’t go to social media during the breaks if you don’t really have to. You only get distracted and overwhelmed or end up in a social media rabbit hole and suddenly two hours is gone. Or you start comparing yourself to others and self-doubt takes over. So say brave no for social media!

As Francesco's brilliant idea proves: the best ideas always come when you least expect them! No pushing, no struggling - but with life with ease attitude!

Hope you enjoyed this!

Let me know in the comments below in what ways were you able to boost your productivity or what is the biggest block for you.


With love,
Jenni