Social media and digital devices are the new lifestyle drugs of our time. It’s insanely hard to avoid them and it’s a struggle to say no. While becoming a father definitely helped me to shift my focus and attention towards the most important thing of my life I still struggle from time to time to just let go. Here are some observations I’ve made and some tips that might be useful for you too.
Question your intention
If you’re active on social media and I know you are, ask yourself this question before you engage with a post or write something: What is my intention behind this post or reply? If the answer to that question is simply unclear, the post is irrelevant. If the answer to that question is, that you want praise from the people who follow you, the post might still be irrelevant or even kind of silly. If your answer is that you want other people to know something or to think about something, it’s probably OK to post it. I don’t want to tell you what’s worth to post – don’t get me wrong! But, by asking yourself this question before posting or reacting on something, you start to question the relevance of spending time to do so.
Take a break
Every now and then I do a little spring cleaning to my iPhone’s home screen. It feels good to get rid of unused apps and reorder the ones that I use frequently. Out of coincidence I put the Instagram app into a new folder, where I store all my photography apps. And after one and a half days I found out that I forgot to open the app because I banned it from my home screen. It felt great to break that Instagram addiction. It was simply OK not to check for new Instagram stories every freakin’ hour and my brain understood that it can live without Instagram just fine. Nailed it. So, maybe you want to reorder your frequently used apps a little to play mind tricks on your brain. Or you are so strong to stop using Instagram for two days or so. Maybe you are that awesome.
Every day (except weekends) I write down the tasks I have to do. I tried so many To-Do apps but they never worked for me. I still like the appeal of Things but I just forgot to use it frequently. Maybe because as soon as I opened my phone I tapped Instagram. But, when I started to write all my tasks down, it cleared my head and I also didn’t forget about them. It also helps if you have a good ol’ notebook to write down new tasks or meeting notes to remind yourself of the stuff that happened during the day. With the prioritization of tasks you also learn to say no to new ones. Because new tasks along the way jeopardize the completion of you original plan.
Apply new (healthy) habits
I personally can’t wait for the summer. Because that means I can and will start jogging again and that is a great start for a work day. You are fully awake afterwards, it is good for your fitness and especially good when you have a job that involves sitting on your butt a lot. Also I started doing Headspace again. For those who don’t know the app – Headspace offers guided meditation and by starting with just 10 minutes every day you can feel the positive side effects after one week. You’re more focused and you have a better mood. Last summer I also replaced my usual breakfast with a healthy smoothie every day. There are loads of ways to apply some new healthy habits to your life.
Learn something new
When you’re swamped with work learning new stuff falls usually short. I don’t have the time or I don’t have the capacity right now to include learning in my day are just two examples of excuses you tell yourself on a regular basis. I am that person too. So the question is, how to make space for learning something new? I recently discovered Blinkist which summarizes professional literature into 15 minute audio books. And that’s almost exactly the time I need for my commute to work. Of course you only get the key insights of a book, but you learn something new every day and it is easy to implement that habit into your daily routine.
Just let go
When you are a person that can be easily enthusiastic about something you tend to say yes to a lot of things. Activities, meetings, discussions about new ideas and so on. Again, prioritization helps you to define whether you should do that one more thing or not. And saying no is one of the best experiences when you have a busy day and once you’ve done it, it’s easier next time. It is important to remind yourself that letting go is not a bad thing but that it helps you to stay focused and healthy. You can’t involve yourself in everything and even if mistakes happen because you delegated work to someone else, it’s OK to just let go.