Nowadays, everything is designed to distract us — our smartphones, social media, Netflix, billboards, office layouts (one common room), etc.
So, it is no surprise that many of us wonder how to get more things done.
We can’t influence social media and co. But there is one aspect we do have power over: ourselves.
In this article, I share with you 9 hacks that helped me optimize my time and get more done by controlling my attention better.
What does it have to do with your nature venture? If you get more done in less time, you have a higher chance of creating an impact. So let’s not waste any more time and go through these 9 personal tips.
Indistractable by Nir Eyal
I love to read, especially when it allows me to learn from the best. It is my way of getting advice from mentors.
But not everyone has the time or the passion for books, so I wanted to share with you the 9 hacks I adapted from Nir Eyal’s book “Indistractable – How to control your attention and choose your life”.
I implemented and tested them before to ensure I don’t share theory but the tips that work.
Nir Eyal is among the leading voices in creating great products that hook people. I wrote about his work before in this article: Hooked On Nature. How To Build Habit-Forming Products That Boost Nature.
After some time, he realized that not all companies use such power for good, so he wrote this book to get us back into the driving seat and control our attention.
So let’s dive into the tips that worked best for me and hopefully will help you too.
9 tips about how to get more things done in less time by controlling your attention
1. Write down distraction triggers
Rather than judging yourself when you get distracted, take a sheet of paper and start to write it down whenever you get distracted.
During the day, we get distracted frequently, so this might be a shockingly long list at the beginning, but try not to be too harsh on yourself.
Instead, note what triggers your distractions (phone vibrating, a colleague asking questions, the noise in your street, etc.)
2. Change your environment
Rather than changing yourself, it is much easier to change your environment to put yourself in the best possible setting to get sh** done.
I work at home, so this is much easier for me.
Here are the hacks that I’ve noticed are working for me:
- put noise canceling headphones on (+ earplugs in noisy settings);
- play nature sounds with Earth.fm;
- remove my smartphone from the room;
- face a wall (so I can’t look around too much);
- big water bottle right next to me;
- clean desk;
- keep desktop & internet tabs cleaned up (still working on this one);
- close the door of my room.
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3. Use the time-boxing method to ensure you spend your time right
Distraction and chaos happen when you have no plan for how you want to spend your time. If you have no idea what traction (in other words, the things you want to do) looks like, how do you know that you are getting distracted?
Time boxing is a simple technique where you take your calendar and start blocking the time you need to do the things you want to do.
When working with my team in my previous job, I always finished the week by blocking myself time slots for the next week to ensure I got the things done to generate an impact.
Now, working alone, I still use it to hold myself accountable and reflect on wondering if I spend my time wisely.
4. Don’t leave the leftovers to the people you love
Let me explain. Work plays a central role in our life. So what can quickly happen is that the most loved people in our lives get the time and energy left after work took everything it could get.
Make sure that work doesn’t distract you from your loved ones because we can only do our best work when we have an environment that supports us.
Not checking emails when you play with your kids and creating rituals with your friends are just a few ways to ensure this.
5. Turn off push notifications
Push notifications; every marketer loves them. As a user, however, you should turn them all off. The core purpose of push notifications is to distract you and take your attention elsewhere.
But there is almost no use case in which you have to react to a message immediately.
So turn them off from your Slack, Desktop, Mobile, etc. Instead, create time boxes in which you plan to check your mail, Slack, etc. This action puts you back in the driver’s seat.
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6. Use your headphones as a signal
Not everyone has the luxury of working from home, and colleagues are a significant source of distractions. Let your surroundings know that headphones mean that you are focusing.
If that is not enough, get more visual signs like Stop Sign, Red Post It, etc.
I know this is hard to implement, but getting things done in a busy office is crucial.
7. Limit meetings to a maximum
Meetings have their place and can be powerful, but this got out of hand in modern companies. Every tiny challenge needs a meeting.
Meetings become places where we do pseudo-work.
We are at work, so we think we are working, but most of the time, it lacks actionable outcomes or takes away the time needed to execute.
At the end of the day, we run to 6 meetings and feel accomplished. In reality, we don’t get anything done from the stuff that genuinely moves the needle.
8. Reward yourself
When you keep a high concentration streak, reward yourself with something you enjoy.
As I mentioned, staying sharp and concentrated is pretty hard nowadays.
So, create a mechanism to reward yourself for good behavior.
That can be a cookie, a walk outside, a fixed time on social media, etc.
9. Shape your identity
This tip is my personal favorite and the most crucial one, in my opinion. Design a clear idea of who you are or want to become. If you are clear on your identity, many decisions will be made for you.
E.g., I identify as an ecopreneur. Now, to keep doing what I love, I need to create massive value for you so that you feel confident one day to contact me for my services or use my products.
To provide this value, I need to be focused because I have limited time and plenty of things to do.
High distraction -> low output -> low value -> no money -> I can’t stay an ecopreneur for long.
Ultimately, my identity fuels my ambition to become good at this and avoid distraction.
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Your turn: time to control your attention and finally get things done
4 actions to better control your attention
- Block 30min of your time next week to reflect on yourself. How good are you at keeping your attention on the task?
- Pick one of the tips and implement it. Start with the easiest one. As soon as you genuinely incorporate it, move to the next one.
- When you have a grip on this, share it with your team members and help them to control their attention better. Like this, you hold each other accountable.
- Sometimes we don’t see the trees because of the forest. Set up a 30-minute free call to have an unbiased look if you can complete more in less time.
A cheat sheet to boost your attention span
In a nutshell: The world is made to distract you. Sharpening your attention skills helps you get more things done.
Book: Indistractable – How to control your attention and choose your life by Nir Eyal.
Podcast: Nir Eyal at Diary of the CEO talks about attention and other interesting topics.
Before you go.
If you think this newsletter is helpful, please share it with 1 ecopreneur in your network.
This will help me massively to keep these tips free.
Staying focused on your task at hand isn’t easy.
Nowadays, distractions are all around you.
To accomplish anything, we need to incorporate such tips to get more done in our limited time.
Now it is in your hands; enjoy this power and become indistractable.
See you next week. Have a wild one!
🦧 Whenever you are ready, there are 2 ways we can help you:
- 1-to-1 business consulting. Detailed and personalized consulting to double the impact of your biodiversity organization in the shortest possible time. Not sure how to get more done in the limited time you have? Let me take a look.
- Wild Business Mates in Action. Wild Business Mates help you execute in areas you are struggling with. Tech, Marketing, Sales, Communication, etc.