We are bombarded every day with constant demands of our attention: conversations, to-do lists, the latest media, and the pressure to increase work productivity while sustaining some semblance of a personal life. Finding a balance of staying up to date with notifications, responsibilities, and absorbing content can seem like a never-ending struggle.
We have daily tasks we do without thinking: shower, breakfast, commute, work, lunch, socialize, leave work, dinner and a few hours at night of free time—and there is a struggle to squeeze in different rituals to stay connected with one another, entertain ourselves and try to find time to watch the latest Netflix series that premieres tonight so we have something to talk about tomorrow around the water cooler.
And distractions are plentiful in 2020. Assessing your own pitfalls in routines and finding times in the day where you have wasted time is important in making strides towards increased productivity. Be honest with yourself. Sitting down with a pen and paper and physically writing what your day is usually like will give you a great benchmark. Don’t lie. If you binge watch a new Hulu series every week, write it down. If you aimlessly scroll social media, jot it down. Device time can be a huge time suck. Screen time usage is tracked by most cellphones. Use that data to understand how long you are using your phone and where your time is being allocated on your device.
In this week’s Baer Necessities blog, we’re offering up tips on how to hack into your free time and streamline your daily routines.
It’s tough to estimate how many notifications we receive daily. With text messages, emails, social media interactions and banner notifications, we can find ourselves constantly distracted by the small, red bubbles staring us in our face. There are people who have to constantly click the application or message to remove the notification. There are others on the opposite side of the spectrum with an email icon reading 8,423 unread emails. Both of those people are wrong.
Setting up your phone to have certain notifications for certain programs will go a long way. Obviously, most people want their phone to notify them when they have a text message or a phone call. Understand, in your preferences for certain apps, you can pick and choose what type of notifications you receive. Other notifications you can avoid until you have decided to open the application. Over checking your phone is a trained habit. The best thing you can do is find balance. Balancing is understanding what is important and what is not.
Important is trying to make plans with a family member or friend for later in the day. Not important is refreshing Instagram to see how many likes you are gaining on your most recent brunch outing. Realize the notification will always be there. You can put your phone away for 20 minutes, and nothing bad is going to happen, outside of an actual emergency.
Do Not Disturb
Finding time to connect with friends and family without the distraction of a cellphone has become increasingly challenging. Maybe you aren’t the guilty party, but other people in your group might be. Believe it or not, there is an option to turn your phone off or leave it in the car or at home. Reading that sentence might give you a small taste of anxiety, but how about switching your phone to Do Not Disturb? Similar to the notifications settings, you can customize who can contact you when you are on Do Not Disturb. The balance of peace of mind with having your phone (but eliminating 99% of potential cellphone usage) will find you more engaged and connected in conversations.
In a recent Baer Necessities post, we discussed pivoting a marketing budget away from traditional media advertising towards advertising on streaming apps. Part of the problem now for consumers is there is so much content from which to choose. With YouTube videos, podcasts, Netflix series, new music and live streams, we almost need a second version of ourselves who is a couch potato, so we have someone who can consume everything we wish we could watch and listen to. The truth is, you will never be able to create enough time to watch and listen to everything you might enjoy. The trick is to find the quality content in a sea of never-ending entertainment. Be picky. Your time is valuable.
The average one-way commute time is estimated at 26 minutes. Which means, on average, we spend 52 minutes every day sitting in a vehicle or public transportation. During a commute, you can listen to music, an audio book, a podcast, and make phone calls with hands-free technology. Obviously, watching your screen is extremely dangerous and illegal in most cities. Stick to listening instead of viewing, and you will be okay. If you live in a bigger city and use public transportation, you can find time to send emails, schedule calendar events or text business or personal contacts. Finding time throughout your daily routine to “hack” creates time you never thought was there before.
Free Time at Home
There are a lot of daily chores that need to be accomplished to maintain a clean and orderly living space. The struggle that is dishes, laundry, yard work, dusting, cleaning bathrooms and cooking can consume a lot of our time away from work. But do they really have to be all bad? These moments of labor and dull uses of time do not have to be. Use this time to catch up on a podcast, music or a TV show. With smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, you can turn any task into an opportunity to indulge in a piece of content you can’t wait to consume. Pro Tip: add headphones.
Our culture has a constant need to digest information. Whether the content is for personal usage, educating ourselves more in school or our careers or watching an Amazon Video documentary your cousin told you about, we have the desire and access to keep gaining knowledge.
By applying personal rules, setting boundaries and finding different times and ways to consume information, you become more efficient, less distracted and will start to feel more content about what you are not missing. Take inventory of the medium and large chunks of time where you are not being productive. However, we all need time to recharge our batteries and zone out for a while. For more tips from Baer Performance Marketing on digital trends and media content, visit BaerPM.com/blog.