We all have a dream of being more productive. For example, have you ever said I need to get back to work or I really should have gotten this done today? I'm sure you have. I know I have. But how can we be more productive with a world FULL of distractions? We have everything right at our fingertips. We live in a world filled with perfect time wasters. That is to say, humans have become the perfect time wasters.
Common Time Wasters
Netflix- this is my personal time waster. I could sit on the couch and watch New Girl all day.
Social Media- Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest, and whatever else there is nowadays. We are social animals and love to take a peek at what's going on in everyone's lives. Just take a guess on how much time you spend a day or a week on social media.
Email- are you constantly checking your email every time it pops up on your phone? Only to find out that the email was nothing important. It was just some ad from a store wanting you to buy their stuff.
Meetings- ever sat in on a meeting you didn't really need to be a part of? I know I have.
There are many, many more. But the most important thing to ask yourself is am I wasting my time on this? Likewise, do I really enjoy it or am I procrastinating on something I don't really want to do? We all know what our time wasters are.
So, here are some forgotten ways to help you either cut down on your time wasters or eliminate them altogether.
Unnecessary Notifications Equals Time Wasters...
Is it necessary to have your phone tell you when you get an email? Likewise, is it important to have your phone tell you that Johnny commented on Shelly's Facebook post thirty seconds ago? Further, do I need Instagram telling me that my friends recently posted a story because they realize I haven't been on Instagram in a while?
However, when I'm constantly updated with notifications I'm tempted to look. Our phone goes off, we look. It's clockwork.
In order to avoid the temptation to look at every notification, we need to eliminate some of them.
Just go to your notification settings on your phone and turn off the ones that are not necessary. For example, I turned off Facebook, Pinterest, and weather notifications.
I also took off some of my email accounts. So, I only have one email account on my phone and the rest I check on my tablet or my computer.
Upon doing this, I realized that I don't have to take my phone with me from room to room. For example, I'm writing this post in my office downstairs and my phone is in the living room upstairs. And I don't feel the need to have it with me. It is freeing.
One thing you will have to change when you turn off certain notifications is you will have to schedule a time of when you are going to check these things. For example, I have certain times throughout the day where I will check my email. Usually one time. I have a few set times during the day where I will check social media since my business pages are on them. This way I am not constantly feeling the need to check. I don't need to be available 24/7 and it's okay that I'm not.
Set a Timer
We need breaks. Breaks are essential to being productive. So, time wasters in healthy doses is a good thing.
To have a healthy dose of work and play, it is essential to set a timer. I use my phone for timing purposes. But, if there is another way that helps you go for it.
I've found that my focus starts to waver after around 20 minutes. So, I set a timer for 20 minutes to do that task. When the 20 minutes is up, I will go do a time waster. Watch an episode of the New Girl on Netflix most of the time. Comedy shows are perfect because they are light, uplifting, and most of the time under 30 minutes. So, when that episode is over I'm ready to get back to work for another 20-30 minutes.
A timer really helps for tasks you don't want to do or are not excited about doing, too. We all have tasks that we don't want to do. Normally, we procrastinate and do it at the last minute. But why not just start it and get it over with?
So, the best thing to do here is to set that timer for a certain amount of time that you will work on the task, 30 minutes is always a good frame to start with. When that 30 minute is up, you can go do something you enjoy. This gives you a visual and can help you accomplish a task quicker instead of the usual blank stare because you just don't want to. It also gives you something to look forward to. Almost like a reward. If I do 30 minutes of this horrible task, I get to do something I love for the next 30 minutes.
This one is at the top of the list and possibly the most forgotten tip by many.
To eliminate a time-waster, just go outside instead. In other words, if you think you have too many time wasters and you want to eliminate one going outside is a great idea.
There are so many things you could be doing outside. Walking, sitting in the sun, shooting hoops, watching the trees, other outdoor games.
Not to mention the refreshing benefits you get from going outside especially when it's sunny or there is a healthy breeze going.
For example, last Saturday I had to take a final exam. It was fairly long, 223 questions to be exact. That's a long time for me to have to focus. On break #3 I decided to go outside for 10 minutes. And WOW! When I came in, I felt so good. And I felt REFRESHED. I was ready to finish that test. There is a lot that can be said about sunshine. Some think it's bad for you, some think it's good.
I believe sunshine can do a world of good as long as you are using it appropriately. A nice, little break outside for 30 minutes is using the sun and your time appropriately. The sun increases your vitamin D levels. A vitamin that we all need. The type of vitamin that many people don't get enough of because they are always inside. It only takes 15 minutes to activate vitamin D in your body. And you will notice a difference. A difference in mood, energy, attitude, motivation, and more.
Get outside to feel rejuvenated again. In the long run, this will make you more productive.
Brain Health Coach
Owner of SustainaBRAIN