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Public Service Announcement: Your Phone DOES Shut Off (And So Do These Other Things)

Public Service Announcement: Your Phone DOES Shut Off (And So Do These Other Things)


    Due to the widespread confusion and misinformation on the following subjects, please take a few moments of your time to alert yourself to the following:

    It’s Okay to Unplug…

    Your phone. The impulse that you must answer anything that rings dates back to olden times when people had to answer the phone as there was no other way of knowing who was calling or whether it was an emergency. The advent of technology such as caller ID, voice mail, and text messaging has freed us from this urgency. We are now able to tell who is calling us, decide whether we are free to pick up, and the caller has the option of leaving a message which we can then use to determine the action we need to take.

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    You are hereby officially allowed to turn off your ringer or your phone altogether for important occasions like: family dinners, driving a car, sleeping, and having anything else you need to concentrate on. Please note that this permission extends to both work and personal phones.

    The TV. The average American watches 5-6 hours of television a night. The percentage of quality entertainment on the 50,000+ stations currently in existence is approximately 7%.

    In contrast, human beings have the capacity to perform up to 100 billion different tasks at any given time, from playing with their children to starting their own business to lying in a hammock under a tree and watching what shapes the clouds take. The average human being utilizes around 0.000001% of these abilities on a daily basis.

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    None of these statistics are scientific, but they’re probably pretty darn close. Turn off the TV.

    Twitter/Facebook. You will never be able to catch every single remark your friends/random celebrities have made. You will never manage to see every picture someone posts of the dinner they’re having which I’m sure is magical in person but just looks like a glob on a plate when viewed on a computer screen. Your friends will not hate you because you missed their witty 140-character review of Ice Road Truckers—and if they do, you hereby have permission to find new friends.

    On the rare occasions when social media is used to impart truly significant information like the birth of a child or the arrival of a hurricane, be assured that you will eventually hear the news by some other means even if you miss the tweet/post about it. Your sister will undoubtedly mention the arrival of your new nephew the next time you talk to her. You will see things like trees and cars flying past your window. You will know the big things without having to constantly monitor for them. Everything else is just fluff. Entertaining fluff, granted, but still fluff.

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    Your e-mail notifications. E-mail is a non-urgent form of communication. By its very nature, it is sent out into cyberspace with the understanding that it will be opened and read whenever the recipient gets to it/feels like it. There is no way for the sender to know when this will happen. If the sender has an urgent message to convey, it should be done by another method. This is the responsibility of the sender to understand.

    As such, there is no need for you, as the recipient, to have a little pop-up notification alert you every single time a message comes in. This is the equivalent of the Postal Service taking each individual piece of mail the moment it’s dropped in a mailbox and delivering it immediately—by standing outside your window and tapping on the pane, waving the letter in the air and mouthing “Got another one!” (Then coming back five minutes later when another letter is sent.)

    Turn off the notifications. It will be okay. I promise you.

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    Addendum

    If you feel any other devices/sources of distraction should be added to this PSA, please feel free to leave your vote in the comments.

    (Photo credit: Hand Press Power Button via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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