It’s easy to become constantly inundated and distracted by the noise of social media, emails, texts, chats, entertainment, etc., especially in this increasingly digital age. Many of us have found ourselves checking the latest updates on our favorite websites, social media, YouTube videos, and so on, only to find that somehow we just wasted hours of our day doing nothing productive. There is an endless sea of information, media and entertainment waiting to be consumed. Most of it is just noise and unimportant when you look at in comparison to the bigger picture. It’s easy to lose focus on what we really want to accomplish in life. Do you want to be a consumer or a producer?
There are several simple steps you can take to quiet the noise around you, focus on what’s most important, be more productive, and accomplish more each day. If you do it right, you can also still make time for quiet relaxation, enjoying the outdoors, or taking a break to consume your favorite digital content.
Spend 15 minutes each morning to plan your day
When you wake up in the morning, or when you first get to work, stop and spend 15 minutes to plan your day. Alternatively, you could do this at the end of each day (or both). Do whatever works best for you. You might be surprised how much more you can accomplish each day by simply planning. This is especially helpful when you work at a computer and have so many potential distractions vying for your attention.
Planning: Time Blocking or To-Do lists
The important thing is moving forward each day with a purpose and a plan, the specifics in how you create that plan are up to you.
Some people prefer to create a simple to-do list of each thing you will accomplish that day. Put time-sensitive and higher priority items at the top of the list.
You can write your to-do list on paper or use a digital app. Some good apps for that purpose are Google Keep, ColorNote, Todoist, and so many more.
Others prefer time blocking as a way to stay more focused and on task. Time blocking is a way of organizing your day into a series of time slots. Each of these slots is intended as time for working on a specific task or tasks.
A good way to approach time blocking is to bundle similar tasks together into the same time slot. For example, if you find yourself distracted by your email inbox all day and could actually be more productive by limiting the time spent on emails, you could block out a specific amount of time at the beginning, middle, and end of the day for checking and responding to emails and other communications. If you have a bunch of smaller tasks you could schedule those together and have another block of time dedicated for tasks that take longer and need more focus.
Time blocking, when done right, can lead to being much more productive each day. Sure, you might find that your day never goes exactly as planned but with time blocking you are likely to be much more productive.
Tune out the noise (or just contain it)
If endless chatter and social media are getting in the way of your productivity, but you don’t want to ditch it altogether, simply schedule blocks of time specifically for that purpose. Or you could schedule blocks of time intended for miscellaneous and random activities. It isn’t necessary to be overly militant with this. Find what best fits your lifestyle. Try it out and discover what results in the most productive and positive results for you.
Live each day with purpose
Have you ever thought about what you really want to do with your life? What are some of your long term goals? What legacy do you want to leave behind? If you live each day with a purpose you will be much more likely to actually accomplish the things most important to you. Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Just do it! Do you want to write a book but never made time to do it? You might be surprised at how much “extra” time you actually have as a result of dedication to time blocking.
Be proactive and not reactive
By approaching each day with a plan and a purpose, you are living a proactive life rather than reactive. It’s easy to get caught in the reactive trap, drowning in that sea of endless digital content, and if you don’t have a plan you’re more likely to find yourself wasting hours upon hours with nothing to show for it. Be proactive. In little as 15 minutes a day you can easily alter the course of your life.