The digital age we live in is making it more difficult to stay focused on what we want and what really matters.
According to a study done in 2016, the average American adult spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. That’s almost 86 hours a month! That figure does not include time spent on tablet devices or on laptops or desktop computers surfing the internet.
With so many social media platforms, video streaming services and news outlets available to us, our ability to stay focused on what matters most in our lives is becoming increasingly difficult. Our attention span, which is linked to our ability to focus, has reduced greatly in recent years.
The choices available to us will only continue to increase as more services or new technologies are introduced. It’s predicted that in a few years time, most of the content we consume will be via videos, so it will be even easier to be distracted.
Today, being able to stay focused is closely tied to our ability to eliminate distractions. This is why knowing how to eliminate distractions and stay more focused is going to be critical if we want to make progress faster and get things done that really matter.
Our work environment has a major effect on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. The better our work environment, the better we will perform.
As we spend close to a third of our lives working, it’s important to design our work environment so that it can support us to be at our best consistently. If our work environment is set up the way we want it to be, it can greatly enhance our effectiveness and assist us in achieving what we want faster, easier and with less effort.
If our work environment is not the way we’d like it to be, it can cause us to:
- Feel agitated or frustrated when working.
- Generate unproductive thoughts.
- Use up valuable mental energy focusing on what we don’t like about our work space.
- Take longer to get things done.
- Appear to be untidy or messy to our team members or work colleagues.
Setting up our work environment to enhance our personal effectiveness does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
Getting adequate sleep every night is a vital practice if we want to have better overall health and be at our best.
The subject of sleep has becoming quite popular in recent times with books such as The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington and Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson shedding new light on why sleep is so important for us.
Arianna Huffington also gave a TED talk on the subject, which now has had over four million views.
The costs of not getting enough sleep or sleep deprivation is becoming widely known as more studies are done on the subject. Some of these costs, especially to our health, include:
- Anger and irritability.
The old belief or saying, “If you snooze, you lose” is being questioned because all the research is now suggesting that we cannot be at our best if we’re not getting enough sleep each night.
As we get busier and busier and seemingly have more things to do, it’s becoming more difficult to stay focused and be productive.
We have more opportunities now that ever before, which is both a positive and negative. On the positive side, we have a better chance of creating the lifestyle we want by taking advantage of the opportunities available to us.
On the negative side, having more opportunities can make us indecisive, feel like we have more to do than we can handle, and also cause us to feel like we’re not making progress or taking advantage of the opportunities available to us.
Once our capacity to deal with things is reached, unless we have a strong mindset, we can easily become overwhelmed, stressed and not perform as well as we know we can.
What we want is the right balance between taking care of our priorities and taking advantage of the opportunities available to us without adding more stress to our lives.
It’s not a surprise that the better we start off our day in the mornings, the better our day will usually be.
If we start off our day rushing, becoming frustrated or not in a good mood, the rest of our day often tends to continue that way. Likewise, if we start off our day calm, composed and under control, we have a much higher chance of experiencing the same feelings during our day.
Therefore it makes a lot of sense to be intentional as to how we start off our day and pay closer attention to our morning routine. As we typically start off most of our days the same way, it’s intelligent to build in things that will increase our chances of being at our best and doing what we want to.
When I was in my twenties and had a full-time corporate career, each day tended to start off in a rush. As I used to commute between thirty to forty minutes each way to work, I always felt I was running late as I usually gave myself about thirty minutes to get ready, have some breakfast, make my lunch and then drive to work.
I also used to drive during peak periods so the amount of traffic on the road used to get me agitated and frustrated.
When you hear the word innovation, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you’re like me, you probably think of well-known companies or brands like Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Samsung or Amazon, to name a few, who have large budgets to spend on innovation.
While these companies may be setting the benchmark for innovation in the world, we can use their successes to bring more innovation into our lives. Innovation should not be left to big businesses or brands only. We can all innovate at different levels in our lives.
What is Innovation?
I like to think of innovation as a bridge from what we currently have to what’s to come in the future. It’s about never settling for what’s already here, and continuously seeking to make things better.
As the saying goes, “Good, better, best… never let it rest, until the good is better, and the better is best.”
The companies that are leading in the twenty-first century are the ones that are continuously innovating. If we want to improve our lives consistently, then we must be willing to continuously innovate and take ourselves to higher and higher levels.
There is a common misunderstanding that highly successful people only do things they want to do and the things they enjoy.
While doing only the things they enjoy may be the ideal scenario, the reality is they still have to do things they don’t necessary enjoy or want to, but have to.
Albert E. N. Gray, who wrote “The Common Denominator of Success,” said that successful people are successful because they form the habits of doing those things that failures don’t like to do.
Instead of focusing on what we don’t like about a particular task or activity, it’s more beneficial to turn it into a new habit so we don’t have to give a lot of conscious thought to it as we do it.
We all have things we’d prefer not to do and the longer we keep putting them off, the more likely we’ll start feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, unmotivated and unproductive.
The more things we can apply to make it easier for us to get these things done, the better state of mind we’ll be in and the better we’ll feel about ourselves.
The idea of automation isn’t anything new. Automation is an integral part of our lives and the more we use it, the easier it will make our lives.
What is Automation?
Automation is the use of systems to control processes, whereby reducing or eliminating the need for human intervention. Put simply, automation is having technology do things for us a lot quicker and easier, so we don’t have to do them ourselves.
From the time we wake up, automation via technology, plays an important part in our lives. A lot of activities in our homes are automated such as lighting, ventilation, heating, and home appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigeration.
In the business world, automation is often a key part of improvement and efficiency initiatives. These may include software programs and new equipment.
While there is always concern about having too much technology and the impact it will have on our overall lifestyle, it’s hard to argue automation does make our lives easier.
Making myself exercise is a battle I have daily. Some days, I’m highly motivated, whereas on other days, I prefer to do something else instead of exercising.
Having gone through a period where I was not exercising consistently, which resulted in significant weight gain, I have now conditioned myself to do some form of physical activity daily.
It’s rare that I will miss a day, which may be because I have an appointment which requires me to leave home early. On those days, I do notice the difference in how I feel throughout the day.
There are various research and advice on when the best time is to exercise, how often should we exercise, how long we should exercise for, and what types of exercises we should do.
We should always get proper medical advice whenever we make any drastic changes to our exercise and diet plan. I personally prefer to exercise in the morning because I’m an early riser so in this article, I share my thoughts on why it’s best to exercise in the morning.
On the down side, not exercising at all can cause us to:
- Feel lethargic and not as motivated as we would like to be.
- Result in physical challenges.
- Not be at our best or do our best work.
- Have low levels of energy.
- Not feel good about ourselves.
The importance of doing some form of exercise or physical activity on a consistent basis cannot be emphasised enough.
We all have things we want to get done but sometimes we struggle to do them as quickly or as efficiently as we’d like.
There are different terms we use to describe how we feel whenever we find ourselves slowing down, such as overwhelm, confusion, uncertainty, lack of clarity, mental fatigue and burnout. All of these, in some way, leads to procrastination.
While we all procrastinate from time to time, the danger is if we don’t address that unproductive behaviour, it can:
- Cause us to miss important deadlines.
- Lead us to missing out on new opportunities.
- Lower our self-confidence.
- Prevent us from taking on new challenges.
- Affect the quality of our work.
Whenever we start noticing we are starting to slacken off and procrastinate, the sooner we can address and overcome it, the better off we’ll be.