Is this addiction impacting your productivity?
”I don’t have time”. (Ever utter this phrase?)
I hear it a lot when working with my clients, particularly when discussing why they haven’t been able to follow through on specific goals. And when I do, I always challenge it.
While most people are spread very thin between work and personal obligations, when it comes down to it - this is an excuse.
Yep, I said it! It’s one more excuse we use to rationalize why we aren’t getting things done; why we aren’t staying committed to working on our goals; why we stay stuck, rather than move to make change.
The truth is, we have control over how we use the time that we have and most of the time we are squandering it away by filling it with distractions.
Our lack of productivity isn’t about time, it’s about focus.
When was the last time you worked without distraction?
When was the last time you didn’t immediately check social media or email upon waking up?
When was the last time you spent a few hours (or, even an hour) without your phone?
It’s okay, you aren’t alone. Productivity is pretty low here in the America’s. In fact, according to recent research the average American is productive for two to three hours a day.
If you want to be focused, it requires high amounts of attention. It requires practice.
What could you accomplish if you cut the distractions (and excuses) and maximized your time?
The reason I ask is because there are some invisible costs associated with our digital addiction...
Lack of follow through. In our society, lack of completion is...low. What is your track record on finishing things? How much of it is caused by the constant need for a digital intravenous drip? If you cut the time you spent surfing and scrolling, and started taking action in a positive way, hoe much closer to your goals would you be?
Dissatisfaction. If you are constantly checking out social media and viewing other people’s “highlight reels”, you’re likely acting as a spectator and aren’t living out your own goals and vision. This addiction to stimulus keeps us trapped in a life outside of our own, which leads to a lack of fulfillment.
One less than productive day might not seem like much, but add up all of those days of being sucked into other stimulus instead of focusing on moving your needle, and it can be potentially devastating. The bottom line is, this addiction comes at the cost of your goals not becoming reality.
It’s easy to make excuses, like the one I hear often from clients...”But I have to check my email in the morning because of my job.”
My first response: REALLY? At 5:30am? (I used this excuse for years, so I know it’s loaded with B.S.)
If the answer is yes, could you push the time that you check it back an hour? (Be honest with yourself.)
If the answer is no, which in most cases it is, what can you be doing for yourself first to set a positive tone for the day? To give yourself space?
Rationalizing this behavior (and others) holds us back from taking action on the stuff that matters. This addiction to all things technology has slowly taken over every household and in most cases we don’t realize the impact it has on our overall mood, our energy levels and our focus. We’ve become so uncomfortable with having space in our lives, that we seek out the distractions, and it’s a detriment to our productivity, our health and our fulfillment.
Take inventory of how much time during your day you spend scrolling and scanning. If you really want to give yourself a starting point, document it for an entire day. (Does that terrify you?)
After that, consider...
What boundary can I set for myself so that I increase my focus and protect my energy?
Here are a couple of ideas that will likely give you heart palpitations and sweaty palms, but that kind of reaction is exactly the reason why you should consider them...
- It might look like establishing a time you are allowed to start checking email in the morning (or a deadline to when you stop at night). Mine is 8:00am and 8:00pm, and I adhere to it most of the time with the exception being a day I know I won’t get to email and it’s my only time. Like I tell my clients, if someone needs me they will call me.
- Maybe it’s that you aren’t allowed to check Facebook, Instagram or whatever other mindless app you get sucked into UNTIL you’ve done something for yourself or done something productive in the morning. Use it as more of a “reward” to get your butt to do something that’s actually beneficial to you and remove the temptation to get pulled into the vortex.
You do not NEED to check these things in order to start your day, you know this...so find something else to do for yourself during this time (hint: this is where those goals you’ve been putting off come into play). I don’t know, do the workout you complain you don’t have time for? Make a healthy breakfast? Engage with your kiddos?
There was a time we were far less connected, and I do believe based on all of the statistics I’ve read...we were MORE productive.
Take inventory of where you fall and consider how distracted you are throughout your day (not just in the morning). If you’ve got big goals, which I know you do, making this shift is going to be extremely important.