13 Mar

Kicking The Information Habit

Ok so I’ve never smoked, and don’t drink hardly anything at all these days. In fact Tina and I shared our first can of beer since Christmas, last weekend… Note: Shared! But that doesn’t mean other addictions don’t creep into our lives. I spend a crazy amount of time each day checking emails, facebook, twitter etc, just looking to see what else is happening, if I’ve made any sales of my products, seeing if anyone wants any design work doing, looking for offers… all manner of things, and all stuff that can really wait until later. Sometimes I’d check my email several times in the space of 10 minutes, just to see if anyone else had responded to a post on facebook etc! Information addiction is eating up my time!

Last week Tina randomly stuck an elastic band round my wrist and told me to flick it hard every time I nagged at my daughter to do something, and do you know what, I was amazed how quickly it’s worked. Partly because it really hurts, and partly because I consciously and subconsciously wanted to make that change.

So while keeping the band on there for that reason, I’ve also included Email, SMS and Facebook checking at times other than 9am, 12 noon and 3pm in there too, hopefully to help curb my Information Addiction.

I have plans, hopes and dreams, but if I look in detail at what I’m doing on a daily basis, I find that checking email and Facebook etc is really eating into my day. Much of my posting to Facebook pages is automated, so there is really no need for me to check things more than maybe once or twice a day.

Create an Alternative Focus

Now every time I feel the urge to check my mail, as well as flicking the band, I also get up and do something else for a minute or two to help kill off the urge:

  • Do some exercise – Grab the pull-up bar and do 10 pull-ups or dips, do star jumps, squats or push ups
  • Write a quick blog post or diary entry
  • Tidy the desk, do some shredding
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Go for a few minutes walk in the garden
  • Make something – Anything…

Whatever you chose, make sure you replace the information addiction with something beneficial to you. Those all important emails will still be there when the allotted time comes to check your mail. The world won’t end if you don’t respond to a Facebook conversation, and your twitter followers won’t stop following you just because you don’t tweet every 2 minutes… Life still goes on, and we managed pretty well before they existed.

This blog post wouldn’t have even existed if it wasn’t for me having the urge to go check email!

Grab an elastic band… Flick it hard next time you check your email, make it hurt, and enjoy the freedom, time, and clearer mind you create as a result.

24 Aug

Digital Decluttering

Image By Frank Gruber

I recently spent a week camping in Cornwall with my Fiance  and my Daughter. During the week I had virtually no mobile phone signal except when we popped to the supermarket or into a town. This meant no email or internet access for me too… My initial thoughts were “Oh heck… how do I keep on top of my work stuff?”… but it actually became a blessing in disguise. Having no email or internet access allowed me to properly switch off and relax. In fact I hardly thought about work at all while I was away. And even when I tried to, I actually found it difficult… I just wanted to get on with being in the moment, enjoying messing about in the sea, sitting on the beach watching the world go by, or doing general camping stuff.

The Big Wake up call…

When I did finally get access to my emails, all 567 of them, I immediately realised something. Firstly that they were just filling up my phones memory, making it slower and slower, and most importantly, I have an inherent ability to surround myself with clutter, in every shape and form possible. And one of the biggest areas in which my life is cluttered, is email… More than 95% of the emails I received while away where junk, or stuff I would never read, and that’s after Gmails spam filter had already been through everything!

I’ve been subscribing to god knows how many internet marketing newsletters, free ezines, special offers… my inbox was swallowing up so much of my time and attention each day.

Action Plan – How To De-Clutter Your Inbox

This Monday I returned to my office with a plan of action in mind. Each time I checked my email, if there was something I would never read or was complete junk, I’d unsubscribe there and then. And do you know what? Yesterday was a remarkably quiet day in my inbox 🙂

Step 1 – Take a look at your emails today… look at where each one comes from…

  • How many are ones you’ll never open
  • Do you really need all those facebook notifications… turn them off… chances are if they’re important you’ll find out anyway
  • Unsubscribe there and then and feel good about freeing up your inbox allowing you to focus on what really matters in your day, not the latest Get Rich Quick Scheme (And let’s face it, most of this internet marketing stuff is just that!)
  • How many are special offers? Do you need that extra temptation to spend (well they say SAVE) money? Unsubscribe and Save even more money! It’s a no-brainer.

Step 2 – Grab the kitchen timer and set it to 5 mins

  • Now find the first “Junk” email that you’ve not read in your inbox
  • Search for more emails from that sender
  • Delete them… Feels good doesn’t it?

Take a serious look at what hits your inbox next time you check your email and be ruthless

More ramblings and the odd bit of usefulness very soon… 🙂