E-mails…voice mails…text messages…Tweets…ongoing dialogues on Facebook, forums, blogs, e-subscriptions of blogs, newsletters, offers—and those are only the usual suspects.
More than once, the thought has crossed my mind: “Just unplug for awhile.”
But the reality is that I can’t “just unplug” because so much information that I genuinely need is conveyed by these various means.
Sure, I could stop checking my e-mail, ignore texts and refuse to answer my phone (or review voicemails). But the result would be missed opportunities, neglected assignments and frayed relationships—and those are just some of the obvious consequences.
This week, feeling more scattered than ever, feeling like I was putting in more time yet reaping less results, I knew I had to call a timeout and get back on track with my time and energy and focus.
So here are some steps I am implementing:
1) I am pruning. A few days ago, I opted out of a bunch of e-mail subscriptions that were loading down my in-box. I had already stopped reading most of them, so now I took that extra step and “unsubscribed.”
2) I am breaking my habit of checking my e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc., first thing in the morning. Getting buried and getting pulled in 19 different directions is not a good way to start the day.
3) I am responding to some e-mails and texts at a slower pace. This tests my personality of wanting to get things handled and handled NOW.
But I am learning that sometimes if I slow the pace:
- it brings greater perspective to the situation,
- my stress level is reduced,
- I don’t get off track with whatever task I was doing,
- and on occasion, situations get resolved without my input.
4) I am breaking my habit of checking e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. the last thing at night. This is not a good way to end the day. It delays getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and thus messes up my next day.
5) I am honestly evaluating the amount of time I spend on all these communication platforms and their necessity in my life. Often, these things are one big distraction to those priorities I should and need to be pursuing.
Does a given communication add value and energy to my life, or does it subtract value and sap my energy?
6) I am creating To-Do Lists the night beforehand. I’ve read and heard from many successful people who talk about making to-do lists.
But this night-time wisdom comes from Terry Felber, a Double Diamond with Amway, accomplished author (The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant and Am I Making Myself Clear?) and leader in World Wide DreamBuilders (WWDB).
I heard Terry make this point years ago, at a Free Enterprise Days event, and following the counsel has helped me so much (when I’ve practiced the discipline).
By doing so, I position myself, hours before the day has even begun, to be in the right mindset. Being armed with a to-do list helps me prioritize my life and provides a shield from the relentless bombardment that comes with the territory of 21st Century Distraction Land