How to Boost Productivity by Simplifying Your Digital Life.
Running out of time in your day to get things done?
Do you want more time to focus on your essential tasks, goals, and values; more time to exercise; more time with the kids; more time to sort out your finances—more time to do the things you have always wanted to do?
I cannot give you more time. We all have 24 hours in a day.
But, here's the good news:
I can help you to make better use of your time to enable you to get the most out of your day. Here are three digital spaces to declutter right now that will make you more productive.
1. Get Hours Back in Your Week by Minimising the Amount of Television You Watch
The way we watch television has changed. With services like Netflix, Stan, YouTube, and Freeview, you can watch what you want, when you want, how you want.
Gone are the days when you needed to be at home at a specific time to watch your favourite television show or else you missed it (unless you remembered to record it on VHS). At first glance, this may seem excellent as you can plan your day without worrying about missing your favourite television show.
However, the truth is:
Being able to watch shows at your convenience has led to more people sitting in front of the screen and the dawn of the binge-watching era.
People are no longer pursuing their values and goals as they are now spending hours and even days sitting in front of the screen and watching content. It's amazing how many people don’t have the time to do the things they value but can spend over three hours a night in front of the screen.
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to stop watching television altogether, but you do want to manage how much time you spend in front of the box?
3 Ways to Develop a Positive Television Habit
1. Set limits
Allocate time in your calendar for when you will watch your favourite content. It might be watching an episode of your favourite show every second night or spending 30 minutes a day watching YouTube videos. Setting limits will give you more time away from the screen to pursue the things you may not usually have the time to do.
2. Use television as a reward
This is all about prioritising. Tackle your essential tasks first, and after you have completed them, treat yourself, and watch your favourite show. This is something I do after I have finished a session at the gym - I will spend some time watching a YouTube clip.
To set those limits.
3. Cancel streaming services
You might be wondering:
This may seem extreme.
But If you cannot stop at just one episode of a television show and you are spending hours in front of the screen, this might be an option. Think about the time you will get back, the money you will save, and all the things you will accomplish if you said goodbye to streaming services. I don't subscribe to television streaming services, which gives me more time to focus on my business, my writing, and my health.
This doesn't mean I believe television is the devil. I do use YouTube, catch-up TV, and going to the movies for entertainment. But I do this with intent and limits in place on the amount of time I spend watching content.
The thing to remember is:
Don't deprive yourself of entertainment, as it plays an essential part in our lives. However, don't let the screen take over your life to the point where you are no longer living your values and pursuing your goals.
2. Have a Productive Day by Developing a Healthy Relationship with Social Media
Social media is now commonplace in society, and when used appropriately, it can add value to our lives. Social media can entertain us, help us to share content, and keep us informed of what others are doing. But, like television, it can consume a lot of our time, preventing us from completing the essential things.
Here’s the deal:
All that time spent updating statuses, scrolling through feeds, and posting pictures does add up to a lot of time over days, weeks, months, and years.
I have lost a bit of time on social media, which I recently discovered. I like to go to the gym about three times a week, and I want each visit to be for no longer than one hour. (Note: My gym program can be done in this timeframe.) But, I was spending an hour and a half at the gym and not my preferred one hour.
After each workout set, I would check Facebook. And, what should have been a 30–45 second recovery time was turning into 1–2 minutes. Scrolling through Facebook meant that I was distracted, lost track of time, and spent more time at the gym than I wanted to. Now when I go to the gym, I have a rule that my phone data is off, and I don’t check my socials.
I have become more productive at the gym and can complete my workout within an hour. As a result, I get 30 minutes back in my day.
Don't underestimate the amount of time you can lose on social media. Even small amounts of time checking your socials can add up to hours over a week, which can have a massive impact on your productivity.
4 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Social Media
1. Set limits
Like television, set limits on how much time you spend on your socials.
Spend ten minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening engaging with social media. Or only check your social media on your train trips to and from work. Discover what works for you.
Avoid checking social media when you are engaged in an essential activity: doing so will ensure that you remain focused, distraction-free, and more productive.
2. Turn off notifications
One way to help reduce your time on social media is to turn off notifications.
It's easy to be drawn to the sound or light on your phone or a pop-up on your computer when a new notification comes in. Avoid the temptation and turn off notifications.
3. Turn off your Wi-Fi/data
Turning off your Wi-Fi/data for a selected period of time will help you stay focused on important tasks and can also help you to relax.
4. Declutter your socials
Think about it:
The more socials you have, the more time you need to spend engaging with them. Keep only the social media accounts that add value and say goodbye to the rest. I now only use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as I find them the most rewarding for both personal and business use. I recently said goodbye to Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter as they weren’t adding any value to my life.
3. Save Time by Better Email Management
For the purpose of this blog, I'm only focusing on personal emails. Inboxes full of emails are distracting and can take up a lot of your time and energy to maintain. The very thought of having an inbox full of emails can be stressful.
1 Way (the Best Way) to Manage Your Inbox
1. Hit the unsubscribe button.
While deleting or filing emails is a good way to keep your inbox in order, it's far more beneficial to hit the unsubscribe button instead.
You won't be distracted by unimportant emails hitting your inbox. And while it's easy to hit the delete button on unimportant emails, you still spent time and effort actioning them. Start saving yourself some time and effort by hitting the unsubscribe button, so you don't have to deal with these emails again.
You might be wondering:
Is this the only way to manage emails?
No. You can apply most of the above television and social media strategies to email as well. However, I have found that unsubscribing to emails has been the best way to manage my personal inbox and has saved me a lot of time. I spend no more than an hour a week maintaining personal emails.
But wait-there’s more...
While hitting the unsubscribe button is an excellent way to keep your inbox under control, not subscribing to emails in the first place is actually even better. Only subscribe to emails that will add value to your life.
Here are some ways to manage your digital clutter to help you gain more time to focus on things you truly value. Are there any you are going to tackle? Is there anything I might have missed? If you try it, let me know in the comments section below.