We all want to be able to wake up at 5am, have a cup of coffee, start practicing our instrument and go on with our day without any distractions. No emails, no social media, no news. Just grinding on and having the most productive day of our life. That would be great! But it would also be a dream.
Living in an overloaded information age such as 2019 means that we are stuck with our phones in our pockets beeping every minute. In only 15 years, the human attention span has reached goldfish levels, going from 12 to 8 seconds.
So how can we combat these daily distractions and be more focused on our day to day life?
We all love to check out what’s happening on Facebook, watch that cool drum video on Youtube and be updated with the latest news and know what’s going on in the world. However, these little actions can make us spend an awful amount of time and leave us empty handed at the end of the day.
Without having to be overly strict with ourselves, a good method to eliminate distractions includes limiting our access to a device that we use EVERY SINGLE day. It sits in our pockets, but most of the times is in our hands. Our best friend: our phone. One good tactic to restrict our access to our phone and maximise our time, is by removing social media, emails and news apps from our phone. Every time you will want to check out a new update (news, email, social media post), you will have to open your laptop and log-in into your account. That takes way more time than just unlocking your phone and “BAM!”, everything you need is at your fingertips.This simple tactic will make your phone less attractive and help you focus more on your daily tasks.
CREATE POSITIVE HABITS:
“Make sure you have your goals set and you’ll go a long way”, or “It’s all about having the right goals and you can achieve anything”. We hear this a lot, but actually having goals will make you achieve absolutely nothing! The most important thing is to work on what kind of SYSTEM will give you the chance to achieve your goals. So, instead of working on how to be the best drummer, or how to get that gig, it is important that we delineate a process that will determine our way to get to our goal. If our goal is wanting to play for Taylor Swift, that is an ambitious goal, but that can definitely be achieved. The work needs to be done on the HOW can we get to play with Taylor Swift. Knowing how to get there will help us achieve the results we are after.
Of course, we all want to wake up every day, go for a 5k run, meditate for 10min., practice our instrument for 3hrs, cook our favourite meal and do all the house chores, seeing all our friends etc. Unfortunately not every day is the same and most of the times we get caught up in other things (aka life!). Therefore creating small positive habits can go a long way. We need to make sure that the new good habits we are creating are eliminating the bad habits that we want to get rid of. A good tactic, would be to give a time and a place to our new habits. For example, if we are trying to practice more our instrument for a particular gig we can go about it this way:
-“I will go practice (only the repertoire for this gig) for 1hr at 4pm in my practice room.”
By doing that you stop everything else. That 1hr is purely for you to practice and nothing else will distract you.
If you want to go further and make this a habit, you can create a “habit-tracker”. You can log in and write down the amount of time you spent practicing, what was good during your practice time and what needs to be improved.
MAKE TIME FOR WHAT MATTERS TO YOU:
Having a To-Do List before the day starts can help massively to catch up on things we need to do. However, the problem with To-Do Lists is that they never end! In fact, once you have cross something off your list, even though you feel good about it, something else suddenly appears. It’s a constant catch up.
Instead of writing down a million chores on your list, how about you focus only on 1 THING. That one thing will be your Highlight of the day. It doesn’t have to be something work related, it can be anything you like. If you want to spend time with your loved ones, that will be your highlight of the day. If you want to go for a walk with your dog, or sleep an hour more, that can also be your highlight.
With life being always so busy, we need to MAKE TIME for the things that matters to us. Therefore creating our highlight of the day can ensure that our priorities have been taken care of and we are not reacting to other people’s priorities.
One last thing. I know this isn’t the usual blog post, but since I am an absolute freak about productivity and time-management, I wanted to share a few tactics that I found useful by reading books and trying things out along the way. The tactics I have discussed in this article are taken mainly from 2 books:
-Atomic Habits by James Clear
-Make Time: How To Focus On What Matters Every Day by John Zeratsky and Jake Knapp