Are you living on other people’s time and not even knowing it?
There are two different approaches to how to spend your time: reactive and proactive. Reactive time is where your focus is (involuntarily) being pulled to a particular area.
Proactive time is when you are in control of where you spend your focus and work to block out distractions.
Your day-to-day is likely a mix of both, however, with technology and crafty marketers you likely have slipped into a reactive dominated world.
You’re jumping at the latest email, tweet, message or notification. You’re finding yourself getting sucked into unproductive 15-20 minute blocks on facebook. You’re living in the short-term moment by moment and finding it hard to stay focused on big tasks and long-term ideas.
In this Keyy.io Bite-Sized Bit we take a deeper look at the two forms of time management and how you can switch from reactive to proactive and regain your time and life. Listen on.
Rather listen to the bite-sized bit?
Additional resources on living in the space between:
- Luke's Book Library
- [vBlog] - How to Actually Start Mediating [a practical guide]
- [Tool] - HeyFocus!
- [vBlog] - How to Manage Mountains of Email - Practical Tips and Ideas
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-------------Below is the transcription --------------
You do not own your tension but it's time for us to fight and get it back. Welcome to another bite sizes bits where we are serving up those little nuggets; little ideas in this case a little eye opener on something that will help you unlock your true potential. My name is Luke Summerfield and I am excited to have you join me today where you could see at the background I am hanging out on my little porch I got in the outside of my room, I like to get out here read and write in this case spend some time with you so I appreciate you are spending with me.
I want to talk about today you know the other night the iPhone 7 just came out and I am kind of like debating getting it not that the 7 is like anything revolutionary but I am really struggling with if I guess 16 gb iPhone right now and I want to start recording more of these on my phone and so 16 gb is not a lot of space.
When you are traveling you are taking photos, you are doing audio books so mainly I have been looking at that, but as I was looking at them I stumbled on the Apple watch. I was thinking to myself, "man Apple watch... lot of people have it... should I get one?" The more I thought I said, "Fuck the Apple watch!" ... I will tell you why in a little bit.
When we get to the core of this but that's my current stance on the apple watch is fuck the apple watch. I probably want to get it at some point later down the road but let me get into the mitten potatoes and I will let you know why, why I have that response. Before we dive in I have a little message for those of you who, I get asked all the time what kind of books I read? I read a book a week, always looking for great books; I am literaly observing everything all kind of differentiate honors, mainly non-fiction I am getting little bit more into fiction but in order to make it easy these people just keep asking I just decided to put all in one spot.
I have a library that is based of the topic, the thing that you want to learn about you can go to that library and see all the books that I have read that have made a big impact on my life learning that particular topic so kind of think it like I have read all the bad ones, you don't have to worry not all the bad ones, I have read it out some of the bad ones you don't have to waste your time, you don't have to get into a hour, two or three of reading to find out that your spinning circles have boiled it down to the best reads for particular topic.
You can get to that by going keyy.io/books and you will be able to check out all of those things along with I am going to put that link in the short notes so some of you might not know if you go to keyy.io/notebook or you go to keyy.io click on the notebook every single one of those episode have additional notes, it has a transcription if you prefer to read this it has additional resources blocks, videos, other books are related to this topic and a lot of times I will go back in and put additional thoughts since I recorded this or I will go back a week later, or month later or a year later and add in new notes so make sure you check that out and subscribe on keyy.io/notebook or just go to keyy.io and click notebook and you can get access to all of those additional nuggets along with this actual episode.
To the topic at hand so the other may be like month and a half ago I was traveling internationally for a extended period of time I had a bunch of speaking gigs all over I was going to Amsterdam and Netherlands, Japan and it was like a 5 week trip so I was stressing about being in international waters, international space with no cell reception for 5 weeks, I was like, "I live on my phone what am I going to do in those 5 weeks where I don't have receptions... should I get data card?"
I decided to suck it up and not get a data card, live of spermatic wifi what I could let me tell you it was one of the best decisions I could have made, it was absolute bless I am not even kidding. It was like going to rehab for drug addicts.
Hoestly, it's not that far off. They have done a lot of studies on phone usage and phone habits and what's happening when you get those notifications on Facebook, you get those tweets, you get Instagram, snap chat whatever that stuff is you get little hit of dopamine. Domamine is a chemical in your brain that gets released, releases positive feeling this is a little bitty hit.
The interest thing is that dopamine is the same chemical that gets released in the brain when you drink alcohol, when you gamble, when you smoke and when you do drugs all of those things will release that chemical and so we have kind of in some ways it is a lot like addicts like we start getting tensy, we want little shut at that dopamine we look at our phones million time over and over and I do it myself and I am not casting down the sinner of the people that do this and I do it myself and I have fallen victim to this as well but traveling internationally gave me a new perspective because I didn't have that continuation shorts of dopomine.
I would look at my phone while I was at the airport where I was traveling and when I didn't have the internet because I had nothing, I had no service so I wasn't getting that dopomine hit. Literally I was like, I was at rehab. I started to not even check my phone and because I knew there was nothing there. All of a sudden I started looking around the environment. I started seeing things around me (trees, birds, buildings, etc) that I would have never seen.
This isn't the topic for today, but I explain it because this was a real eye opener. It's one of the benefits when traveling internationally. Think about it... we say, we want to go camping because we just want to get away or we want to unplug and we it's kind of sad that we have to make a particular trip every once a quarter or once a year just to go camping just to unplug now off course it's nature and all that and that's awesome to but one of the reasons even if it's sub-consciously that we probably like doing these stuffs it's just get away from all of that and so all of this kind of gets boiled down into a couple ideas that I want to share with you and then I will give you some tactics and some tips to try and regain and fight back and get your attention back so that you own your tension, your phone and you know all the other marketers and people who are trying to grab your attention don't own it.
The first kind of ideas and concept to think about is that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, people say I am good multi-tasker I can do two things at once, I can be watching and being on my computer and writing, I could be driving with my phone and it's bullshit there has been numerous studies and this is not bullshit from like psychologist point, this is like a bullshit from biologist point your brain is just not wired to be able to task switch between multiple things.
People who say they are good multi-taskers are not good multi-tasker they just simply have better, quicker inner connections that jump those inner connections back and forth but it still causes your brain to have to shift and send that connection back and forth in the first place, little fun fact women in general actually have much faster reactions to transmitting between different signals in the brain so usually women a little fun fact for today is that women actually it's been shown that women can transmit those single back and forth quicker, much quicker than man so women probably do not multi-task but task switch much quicker than man, sorry man myself included.
The second thing that kind of goes into the psychology side of things is the way that notifications play and hook your brain. So any time you are working you know this happens all the time whether you are using Google chrome with notifications or you are using your phone where at the vibrations in your pocket or anything like that this principle kicks into a fact.
When we look at how we are fascinated, what causes behavior to happen, there are number of different principles, one of those principles is the idea of ambiguity or curiosity. Here we are tricking the brain so that we can't quite put the picture together in our heads and so our brain starts turning to try and put that picture together.
What happens is that when we get a notification whether you are in your computer where little pop up comes up or on your mobile getting a vibration on your leg, this is a trigger that will kick in your mind and your curiosity. You will start trying to put together a picture of what that notification means, what happened before that if this person open the email what is that person doing. What's the next step? What's going through that persons head who send the email?
For those of you saying, "I'm really good at ignoring those!" ... Well, I'd argue that you may consciously be ignoring... but sub-consciously it is eatting away in the back of your brain. You will not be doing your best work. It will be extremely hard to get into a "flow" state state where the ideas just flow out of your brain,
It's easy to SAY, "fuck these marketers, fuck these software people who are trying to pull our attention away".... But in reality, it is in this world of always being connected, always notifications like we need to figure out what we can influence and what we can influence is being able to start blocking some of those things out and so at the end of the day it is not, you know that might be the cause but that is not necessarily who to blame, you are to blame yourself for allowing those notifications to happen, allowing yourself to get pulled into that world.
Instead of pointing at those marketers turn that finger around and start pointing at yourself to figure out what you can do to set yourself up and avoid all of that. Couple more things than I am going to go into some of the tactics, some of the things that I found that have been helpful then we are going to wrap it up here for today.
I guess one little note all of this renting and raving on this makes me feel much like an old man and maybe there is a little bit of truth of that, you don't know them pushing just about to hit the three o which I don't like to think about but I think it's little bit more like a wise man I like to tell myself it's a little bit more of a wise man that I start to pulling away some of that stuffs, that is very surface level in nature, pulling away some of those distractions those superficial things and really get in to focusing on myself and focusing on what needs to get done and so part of me just me this is just an old man being an old man trying to yell at modern technology and then I think it's a little bit more of a wise man I just know where my time and energy and your time and energy is better spent.
I guess the other thing that's to consider here is also a lot of this comes down to mindfulness and I am a big believer in meditation and I have another keyy.io bite sized bit on how I learn how to meditate you can get it in the short notes, if you go to keyy.io/notebook and find the show, in the show notes I put a link to it and the reason being this is so linked to meditation and mindfulness is because when you are getting all these things.
I remember back 3 years ago before I was meditating and before I really like focused on becoming more mindful on my thoughts. I would just go through the day to day getting all these notifications things like that, I never even noticed how that affected my thinking patterns and as I got more into meditation into mindfulness, into journaling, into those things it made it much more clear when my brain was being distracted and when it was being focused and where the kind of internal dialogue was going and so that's may be I guess when we get into kind of pro-tips of this, that's one thing I would consider is that if you are really interested in getting out of that habit of notifications distracting you, living on other people's time is start baking into your life, different practices, different habits, different routines that help promote that mindfulness and again if you are interested in meditation you can check out the other bite sized bit that we talk about out there.
All of that are wrapped up, all of these things that are happening it's kind of like wraps me up into my fuse statement, my fises statement is that in fact myself, yourself, all of us are not in control of our attention but that doesn't mean that you can take it back. There is this ideas in Brazilian jetsu some of you know that do Brazilian jetsu and there is that idea that you always want to make your opponent play on your time, always want your opponent to be reacting to you to be playing and playing your game you set the tone, you set the stage and you set the schedule.
When you are playing in your opponents time, when your opponent is able to be pro-active being able to suck you into doing the things that they want you to do that is where you start losing and my fises is that we are playing on our opponents time, when we think about our lives, attention we are allowing ourselves to get sucked into marketers, into software, into all these things which all of a sudden turns us into a reactive and ultimately end up losing the game of life.
Here are some tactics, something’s you can start doing that I found valuable for me to be able to flip that so that I get to play a lot of these things on my time versus playing things on other people's time and win the game of focus and win the game of attention.
The first one is mastering email, email is just for those of you like who need at work on computer, work online you probably eat, sleep, breath your email and it's so easy to get sucked in and I did another episode on keyy.io where we talked about some of the tactics, some of the ways that I do filtering.
In order to deal with email in a much more manageable way and on my time and so again short notes check that out or you could just go to keyy.io/notebook and search email or just Google keyy.io email and you will probably find it as well but in addition to that what I found also I started using a app on my computer called focus app, you Google "focus app" or it's in the show notes.
What this app does is allows you to put in any URL and also put in a schedule and during that schedule it will essentially block out all of those URL's so that you don't have access to it, it's kind of like well why do I want to restrict myself in that but I have found such a awesome way to completely remove some of those distractions and you can add new URL's it comes with a bunch of preset once you know YouTube and Facabook and all that I have to add in slack, honestly slack is just pulling my attention it's like crazy so I add in slack you can put all the stuffs, you turn that on and essentially you have to go through some Maringa Moro in order to turn it off and get back to it which is ok. So focus app is definitely one that I found and I just block off from 9 till noon every single day. If you can’t do that long may be just from 9 to 12 or do it 9 to 11 or 10 but I do from 9 to noon I will get to email, I will get to slack and I will get to all that stuff in second half of the day.
The second thing is in your phone settings, when you get to your phone go into settings and literally turn of notifications for every single app. So I turn off notifications for phone, for messaging, facebook messenger every single notifications and that includes not only just the lock screen but also the little red dot that shows up in next to the app again that's your like you see that little red dot and your brain starts turning into curiosity mood and then you get sucked into that particular things. So turn off all those notifications on your phone and also notifications on your computer and on chrome. You got a go through all those stress just to pull back your attention but block off two hours or an hour of time go through there and do all of that.
The third tactic I will give you is when we think about you know I live in kind of the conversion right optimizing world or how to optimize the lead generation things like that, we talk about reducing friction free users, we want to make users flow through these funnels and convert as quick as possible but the reverse the universal truth as well, when you want to discourage your behavior the more friction, the more space that you add into that the less likely you are to complete it and so whether it's in your computer, whether it's on your phone it starts to remove all of the easy access to those distracters.
For example on chrome in my computer I used to have facebook and twitter and all that right on little menu bar took all those completely off and I also logged out of each one of those items, so that every single time that I wanted to access it I would have to log in which is again a additional layer of friction and I have noticed myself like even though I pulled it out of the bar it's not like the little logo doesn't make me want to click and go there but even if I do go to twitter.com if I am logged out kind of gives me that little got check that my little red flag ok is this really the best place for your attention and it helps me pull myself back in ok no to much work I am not even going to bother logging in.
Whether it's on chrome, whether it's on your phone so like what I did on my phone was, I created a folder and put it all the way to the very end so I will have to swipe and swipe to get to that folder and then I put a folder within a folder and then put in all of my apps like I have my facebook, twitter, snapchat and instagram and all that, all that stuff that pulls your attention away, I put all those there so now all these layers that I have to get through and again if you log out thats like another layer, all these layer I have to get through just to get access to that and I have turned of all notifications so it's not even top of mind until I get there.
The next thing this kind of goes to some of the other things that we talk about just completely close out the email, close out of slack, close out of those things and when you have a meeting, when you have something to do, when you have deep work, you have something you want to get on put your phone this is like a new habit I have taken up and I absolutely love it. I will take my phone and I will put it in my drawer and just not having it in my pocket, not having it in my desk helps my brain stay focused, even if I have all notification of and everything put it on my desk all of a sudden that curiosity kicks in there and I want to pull it up and look just kind of that out of sight, out of mind put in your desk, a lot of times I put my phone on my desk and then walk somewhere else in the building to go to some work if there is any task I really need to focus on.
That's another good again add additional friction keep it out of site, out of mind but also require additional steps to get to where you need to be if you go to other side of the building only way that you get to check those things is if you spend five minutes walking all the way back to your desk and then accessing all the apps from there. So the last thing I will wrap it back up to why my current stances on the apple watch or any smart watch is a fuck that, is you are literally like you are just handing over your attention to all of these people by slapping that watch in your hand it makes it so hard for you to avoid all of those things.
The last thing I want to talk about is going back to the apple watch or any smart watch and why my current stances is fuck those things its because with that you are literally strapping on your wrist something that's going to be pulling your attention away 24/7 365 when you are wearing it and you fight so hard for your attention trying to focus on all those things it's just like, right now when I look at the state of watch in smart watches there is not anything it's basically just to pull your attention away. Now I think this will change in a few years, I think may be 1 to 3 somewhere in that range of years there will be much more beneficial uses for the watch like I am totally digging the bio-metric like self tracking all that stuff like that people are doing that more power to you I think that would be the one tipping point to get me to by the watch but I think as the technology progresses, as these apps progress we are going see more and more of that really killer kind of self measurement type of ability and that's probably when I will get in the game of getting one of these watches.
Right now I look at what's available, what you can do with a watch, this is like the majority of them just to see notification and that’s the exact opposite of what I want to be doing, I want to be getting away from all those notification. I will mark my words and I know I would probably change my stance on this as some of that bio-metric stuff and self measurement stuff, progresses and advances but right now I will not pull myself to do that.
You know I see it, it's not just me renting and raving on this, I see it I was just in a meeting the other day where the whole time every two minutes someone who is like looking at their wrist and you know the argument could be made it's better than them pulling out their phone but is that any better like they are still, their mind is still switching, still got that curiosity in their mind well I am trying to talk to them, it is disrespectful to the person who is speaking but it also makes you not fully pay attention and so again maybe it's my old man renting on some of these, I would like to call the wise man but I cannot pull myself for the apple watch yet so give it a couple of more years we shall be into it.
Those are some of my renting, raving idea puking here on a Saturday night around tension, I think that eye opener of traveling internationally was a big eye opener on how much we are addicted to these things and how much it can impact the deep work that you can actually get done and ultimately the impact you can go around the world.
I challenge you to take some of those nuggets and tactics and implement those even if it’s just for a half a day do some of those things put your phone in your desk for half a day, close your email out for half a day and see what kind of state your mind is in and see how much more focus you get in, I have noticed for me personally its been just like I have grabbed the fresh air at work when I avoid all of those things.
if you know someone who is always checking your phone, if significant other leaves the phone, if someone at work does or your family members feel free to share this out so that they can get some gears turning on their head kind of eye opening and make sure you subscribe to keyy.io you can do that either or if you prefer the YouTube go to YouTube and subscribe that or if you prefer the podcast format you can go to iTunes and subscribe there and lastly check keyy.io/notebook for all the deep dive the additional resources’, the additional thoughts, the links that we talked about you know every single one of these episodes gets put on my notebook and in keyy.io where I flush out more golden nuggets.
So until next time hopefully you enjoy this episode and if you have any ideas let me know and I will talk to you soon.