Why having more time in your day is in the palm of your hands
Have you ever read something that fundamentally speaks to the very core of what you do and how you do it? At Implicit we have and we want to share some of the learnings with you.
Time is a finite resource. There are only so many hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the year. You need to make the most of this precious entity. so, you focus, you try really, really hard to remove distraction from your day. You have your nose to the grindstone at all times. You’ll be a work ninja, It’ll be amazing. Just think of what you’ll achieve.
Noble aspirations but are they destined to fail (like dry January or your new fitness regime)? With a whole host of emails (work and personal), notifications galore from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, your news app going 10 to the dozen with new government updates on COVID, and your WhatsApp groups going crazy about the newest Netflix series… it’s understandable that you may be a little distracted.
With digital marketing experts estimating exposure to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day too, it’s no wonder that willpower alone won’t enable you to resist these distractions.
What can you do about it?
Technology is designed for you to interact with it. It’s designed to help every day life but in some cases it’s designed to distract (think about a sneak peek into Twitter that suddenly becomes a 60 minute marathon). It’s the new normal.
How do you change it? By reconfiguring your tech. The catch? You need to want to do it.
Step 1. Don’t have distracting apps on your phone
Okay, so a phone without apps. A bit like a Nokia 8210? It might appear better to disable notifications or move to airplane mode but these things won’t stop the distraction they’ll momentarily delay it. By removing the apps, the temptation is removed altogether.
It might feel a little scary. You don’t have social media at your fingertips. You don’t have WhatsApp to ask a quick work question. What you do have is the app store though. If it’s too big a stretch, add those apps again. Bear in mind though, that those apps are designed to keep you on their platforms (how else will they make their ad revenue?).
Okay, we’re not monsters (or the app police). You might not be quite ready to make such a drastic change. As a step in the right direction, disable all notifications that will sidetrack you. At least this will mean your journey to distraction will be intentional and not just habit. And it’ll give you back some time in your day.
Step 2. Set a highlight for your day
Let’s focus on the positive. Set a ‘highlight’ for your day. A little something that you can congratulate yourself on. Maybe a win at work. Doing some new business calls. Clearing your inbox. Or maybe it’s more personal. A DIY job at home completed. A bit of exercise.
Plan your highlight the night before. Set out your stall as to what you want to achieve. Block out time in your diary (you can do this via Daylite). Inevitably you will be distracted at some point – with urgent calls or emails – but you have your thread for the day and it’s your highlight. Something you want to do and you’ve made a priority. It won’t be the only thing you do in the day but it will be your priority, not other people’s.
That feeling of having achieved something could just make your day.
Step 3. Be laser focused
You’ve deleted the ‘infinity pool’ apps (those that have a never ending supply of interesting content that distract without distinction) or at least disabled notifications from your phone. You’ve set a highlight. It’s time to focus. Get into laser mode.
‘Laser mode’ is where you’re wholly focused on the task in hand. This is high-quality, concentrated time, dedicated to the task in hand. You’re ready, you’re dynamite with a laser beam, you’re going to conquer the world… well at the least you’ll conquer today’s highlight.
Block out time for your highlight to get into laser mode. We find it really useful to do this via the Make Time App. You can set time slots for you to focus, so you don’t look at your time sapping apps, don’t browse the internet or check your emails. It’s quality time for you and your highlight.
Once you’ve achieved your goal for the day, go on, reward yourself. Check your email, have a sneak peak at Facebook. Take 10 mins to catch up on the news. Check-in on your insta. But, don’t go down the rabbit hole of distraction. Make it a conscious decision to visit sites or apps rather than relying on you online muscle memory.
You’ve taken back control. You’ve made positive steps to free up your time. It might not stop all distractions (you might find others) but at least you’ve made the effort to change for the better.
Want to read more about making more time in your day, we highly recommend the source of this blog post, the book “Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky” (available at all good book stores and here).