How I got back more time in my day
I’ve been a fan of productivity for as long as I can remember, probably even before the idea of productivity became a hot buzzword.
Thanks to the varied number of distractions online though, it was becoming effectively difficult to get into what I called deep work mode, without going down a rabbit hole of distraction.
I think productivity fans are already aware of attention residue and how distraction impacts them so I won’t go into those things here.
The first thing I did was try and list out what my chief challenges were when it came to finding more time for deep work.
Here are 5 things that I did which gave me back so many more hours in my day
I decluttered my social media channels
It started off as an exercise born out of frustration in mid August, 2020. The sheer volume of people I was following had gotten out of hand.
Neither did I have the energy to engage with the people I cared about nor did I have the bandwidth to process the information that was relevant to me.
It was time to cull the channels.
I followed the tips that I have outlined in my post here.
Wiped out my social media timelines
I so wish I had done this sooner.
How this helped was that it put my focus back where it belonged, even on social media.
If I was going to Twitter or Facebook, I had a specific intention in mind: Getting updates from people I was keen on following.
Eradicating timelines and the home feed meant that I had to rely on Twitter lists and Facebook friend lists to get updates from the people who mattered.
Since I wasn’t scrolling mindlessly anymore there was no reason to stay longer than required on any specific channel.
Started posting content with intention
Let me know if this sounds familiar.
You go on to social media to post something and then you end up hanging around, waiting for some form of validation in terms of likes, comments, tags, mentions or shares.
Instead, try this the next time.
Post something on social media and then quietly leave the platform. Even better, log out of the platform.
That way, your brain won’t be tempted to stray to that open browser tab or to that app on your phone every time there’s an itch to get notifications.
Come back later in the day; perhaps an hour or two later and respond to comments at leisure.
Stopped picking up my phone on a whim
There are two ways you can curb this habit of picking up your phone almost as a reflex action.
A) Keep the phone in a different room from where you are working.
Doing this ensures that your entire energy is invested in the task before you. You’re not squandering precious seconds glancing at your phone every time you pause in the middle of your task.
B) Say a simple intention out loud before you pick up the phone
The other thing you can try is to say aloud an intention every time your hand strays towards the phone when you are bored or tired.
*Intention said out loud: Why am I picking up my phone? Can this wait till after I have finished my task?
The beauty of this technique is that it doesn’t play on your guilt or make you feel bad about picking up your phone. It just asks you to observe the action dispassionately and answer whether it makes sense right now.
Started focusing on more productive tasks
At the end of every work day and the beginning of the next, I reviewed a list of tasks that were both productive and aimed towards income generation for my business.
If I noticed that there were tasks that were fun to do (scrolling Instagram/ checking email) I put them last on the list for the day.
If I observed that there were tasks that would help my business (writing quality content/ creating courses/ work on coaching material), those went on top of my list for the day.
Prioritizing the productive tasks ensured that even if I felt like scrolling social media later in the day, I wouldn’t feel guilty about it.
As a blog and social media coach, I teach content creators how to take back time in their day while building an organic and engaged audience. More on my blog here.