If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a big proponent of slow thinking. It’s something I hope you will embrace in everything you do.
Of course, this is easier said than done. There’s a reason why slow thinking has become a hot topic. Believe it or not, we used to call this just “thinking” and it was how most people approached the challenges they faced on a daily basis.
And then we got busy.
In this information age where we are surrounded by news and updates, always reachable on our various digital devices, and overloaded by more info than we can possibly process, slow thinking can seem like a luxury we can’t afford.
The thing is – the opposite is true. We can’t afford not to embrace this old way of thinking and using our brains if we want to live healthy and successful lives.
Cut Out Distractions
One way to do that and find more time in our day than we ever thought possible is to cut out distractions.
If you’ve ever kept a time log of what you do and paid attention to the distractions and disruptions we all face on a daily basis, you know how frequent they are.
If you haven’t, I encourage you to give it a try. Make a little tally mark any time an alert pops up on your phone or computer that disrupts your train of thought. Or how about a phone call, or someone walking into your space while you’re trying to work on something that takes your full attention.
Of course, we can’t eliminate all of these distractions. Nor should that be our goal. Instead, the goal is much simpler. Become aware of what distracts you and where it comes from, and then find a few things you can cut out of your life to reduce those distractions.
Let’s start with one of the biggest culprits – your smartphone. More than anything else I’m aware of, this is a source of constant disruption. It pulls at your attention much more than you may realise. Don’t believe me? Try one of two things.
Leave It In a Drawer
You can either turn your phone off or even better, leave it in a drawer for a day or two and see for yourself how much more you can get done.
Or if that seems too disturbing, or isn’t feasible because you have a valid need for your phone (to stay in touch with clients or be reachable by your children in case of an emergency for example), consider installing an app like MOMENT that will track your phone usage.
Before you install it, guess how many times per day you pick up your phone and how much total time you spend on it. Write it down on a scrap of paper and tuck the note away. Then let the app run for a week or two and look at the data. It will be an eye-opening experience that helps you realise just how distracting this little device can be if you let it.
Once you become aware of the distractions around you, you can start to work towards eliminating them, one by one. This may mean setting your phone to silent for an hour or two while you get important work done. Or maybe it involves getting up to start work early before everyone else, again in an effort to cut out distractions.
Keep at it. Your productivity and your quality of life will skyrocket as you deal with and start to eliminate some of these unnecessary distractions.