You’ve heard the expression “time is money,” but I’d argue that time is more precious. Unlike money, once spent, time can never be recovered. That’s why building healthy habits to manage time can lead to increased happiness, better overall health, and financial success. One of the best ways to profit from time is to enjoy it in silence.
Recently, the internet was aplomb with celebs doling advice on effective time management and productivity. Sadly, their tone-deaf messages undermine the collective uncertainty we’ve all experienced over the past two years, the struggle with overwhelm, our constant reassessment of the value of time, and the need to establish healthy boundaries to cope with so many unprecedented changes in daily habits and workspace.
As the pandemic evolves, so do our work habits. Not surprising, there is no shortage of distractions that rob us of time, from social media notifications, incessant virtual meetings, frequent home deliveries, and even the occasional embarrassment of leaving the camera on during a Zoom call, in less than proper attire.
In this next normal, the barrage of interruptions continues to impede our ability to focus. Neuroscience research confirms that we are wired to concentrate on one task at a time and with the increase of distractions, it’s becoming even more challenging to concentrate. On average, we are interrupted every 11 minutes or 40 times an hour—and to regain focus, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task at hand.
Consider the average smartphone user receives 46 push notifications every day, and some people, like my 15-year-old boy, receive as many as 400 pings an hour. That’s a lot of downtimes. No doubt, sometimes, it can feel like you’re the ball in the pinball machine.
To help you adjust and reduce, maybe even eliminate distractions, you can try becoming more intentional about achieving greater clarity of focus on a single priority. When you concentrate on one task at a time, you not only enjoy what you’re doing, but you start to experience a healthier lifestyle and consistently achieve better outcomes.
To help you effectively manage distractions and benefit from greater focus, develop healthy habits like the following:
Set notifications to off or Do Not Disturb when working, sleeping, or focusing on a task.
Ignore the urge to multitask.
Limit the number of times you check your phone–on average, we checked our phones 262 times per day in 2021, that’s once every 5.5 minutes!
Eliminate potential distractions such as streaming services, phone calls, ringtones, and social media or email alerts.
Notice what your body is telling you, move about often, breathe deeply, stay well-hydrated, change your environment, exercise regularly, eat well and get enough sleep.
Calendarize your work and tasks, whether you use a to-do or a “done” list, it’s vital to stay on top of everything in your life.
Evaluate urgent and non-urgent, important, and non-important tasks using a time matrix (I’ll cover this topic in more detail in an upcoming newsletter).
To achieve clarity of focus, make SILENCE a habit in your daily life, ask me how I can help
Learning to effectively manage your time helps you become more productive and being more focused means you’re not working harder but smarter. While we all have the same 24 hours each day, how we use them makes a world of difference. So enjoy the silence and learn to use your time wisely, and maybe you’ll end up making a bit more money and enjoying yourself as well.
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