It never ceases to amaze me just how “connected” we all are these days. I know I, for one, am on just about every social media platform known to man. I make daily visits to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote various projects and keep up with the happenings of my networks. I even have multiple accounts on each platform (for both personal and business ventures). I have several email addresses, with the option of checking on my iPhone, iPad, laptop, ordesktop. You can catch me on Skype or Google chat and I can text like nobody’s business! My calendar is synced to all my devices and they all buzz and beep simultaneously to alert me of all my daily appointments. Madness, I tell you! When does it stop? I’m pretty sure you can relate on some level!
It also never ceases to amaze me how much I can get accomplished at 30k feet in the sky! On a long flight, I can easily bang out four or five pressing tasks that I just never seemed to be able to get around to while at home or in the office. This could be a writing task, a brainstorm session, project research, planning, or maybe even catching up on some reading. Unbelievable amounts of work get done, like magic!
In the sky, all electronics have to be on airplane mode. This means no phone calls, emails, texts, IMs, or social media distractions to disrupt the flow!! If we could just spend all our time on an airplane, there is no end to what we would accomplish! But, as much as I’d love to be a world traveler, my commitments on the ground won’t allow me to spend all my time in the sky getting ‘er done. Instead, I have committed to implementing doses of “airplane mode” into my daily life for increased productivity. And, it works! You can too. Here’s how:
1) Set an “Airplane Mode” appointment with yourself where you can block out all distractions and get that writing, researching, creating, or other task-that-has-been-stewing-on-the-back-burner finally done! An hour a day would be great, if you can swing it. Shorter bursts are okay too. And, if you can’t swing a daily appointment at the moment, try a weekly one. Every little bit helps and you have to start somewhere. You can always add more time later. Commit to this appointment like any other – no cancelling on yourself!
2) When your “Airplane Mode” appointment time comes up, turn off ALL distractions. This action step will look a little bit different for everyone, but implement as many that would apply to you: Put your phone on “do not disturb”, close your office door, log out of IM, close your email browser, etc. Unless you need to go online for research etc, don’t open any internet browsers either. (The world wide web is the biggest time suck known to man!) Turn off the volume alerts on your cell phones, tablets, etc. If the temptation is too much, actually put your devices on airplane mode so that you can’t cheat!
3) Let others know what you are doing. Get family, co-workers, friends, and any other possible “distracters” on board with what your new plan. Otherwise, they mean well, but are unknowingly going to sabotage your efforts. Let them know it is okay to access you in case of an emergency. Otherwise, the world is not going to end if you are inaccessible for an hour. You’ll be fine and so will they!
4) Come to your “airplane mode” appointment with a plan of attack! Studies show that it takes about 15 minutes for your brain to get into the “groove” of a thoughtful activity and each distraction means you have to reset the 15 minute clock. (No wonder we’re not getting anything done and why this exercise is so crtiical!!). So, be ready to hit the ground running and immediately get into (and stay into) the zone of whatever task(s) you intend to take on, as to maximize your efforts and not to waste any more of your precious time. Now, go, go, go!
5) When the allotted time is up, bask in the delight of what you just accomplished!! Woohoo!! You are a rock star. See what you can accomplish in a mere 60 minutes when you unplug for a bit? And, guess what – the world did not end after all. It’s still there and all is well. Now, bask in the potential of what you can continue to accomplish by making this a daily habit. Yahoooo. The possibilities are endless!
6) Enjoy the side effects of enhanced awareness! Added bonus: this exercise is going to help you realize just how much time has been getting sucked out of your day by all of these digital distractions. You will become more consciously aware of these time-suckers on a daily basis and gain better control of keeping them all in check.
7) Don’t forget to “plug” back in. I’m sure a slew of emails, voice mails, text messages, Facebook updates and Tweets await you! But, now, you can face them with the contentment of knowing that you just accomplished something big. Go ahead and “gloat” a little and share with your networks. You might just inspire someone else to unplug for a few themselves and take steps towards achieving their own greatness and contentment. Rinse and repeat daily or weekly, as needed and as your schedule will permit.
Happy Un-Plugging! Let me know how it goes!
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