Notifications OFF = Goals ON

New year, new you! It’s 2017, and you are starting a brand new life of productivity and performance! Lay out the freshly sharpened pencils, get your day planner, stretch fingers. Your beautiful day looks like this:

Except when you get into it and find out it looks more like this:

Hair is pulled, gaze is frazzled, freshly sharpened pencils dulled to a stump. The interruption monster rears its ugly head and turns your perfectly planned day into shambles.

I say it’s time to wrestle it into submission and get your time back. Here are the weapons in your arsenal to ensure a smooth victory; use one or use all on your conquest to productivity.

  • Start your day with your Trello board review. Prioritize – what absolutely needs to be done today? What can wait? “Eat the elephant” first.
  • After all must-do projects are tackled, make sure you find time to work on something you really love. We get caught up in the minutiae and forget that our time is limited, so be sure to find a few hours for something you’re passionate about. Remember this before diving into the rabbit hole of yet another side project.
  • Related – fight to keep bullshit off your calendar. Having a meeting to chat about a meeting is bullshit. Received another invite to a meeting with no agenda or goal? Forward of a forward to yet another faceless “networking event” that would add absolutely zero value to your life? Politely decline and delete.
  • Turn off sound and vibration notifications on your phone, smart watch, and computer. Leave sound on for a few important contacts (play with the settings; you can figure it out). Schedule time to check your phone a few times per day.
  • Similarly, you do not need app status bars notifications or open browser tabs for email or chat apps.
  • In addition, take a look at the open browser tabs. Important to your life or business? Add it to Trello. Noise? See the point below. Or just close it. There are a million fantastic articles and there will be a million more. You can’t possibly read them all and shouldn’t stress about not being able to.
  • Dedicate two 2.5 hour blocks weekly to “noise.” Answer non-urgent emails, read a few articles, research non-vital, fun things, do stuff around the house. Track errands in a separate Trello board and don’t feel guilty about delaying the “noise” as you now have scheduled time for it.

Now only one last question to answer – what are you going to do with all the time you get back?

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau

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