Ever wish that you could streamline your life? It can be difficult to cut out all the distractions in the modern world, with everything from phones to smartwatches pinging and dinging at you every two seconds.
But there are still ways to cut through the clutter, and up your efficiency. Gentleman’s Journal turned to Grace Marshall, expert at Think Productive and author of How to be Really Productive, to whip us into shape. So focus up and keep on reading for Marshall’s six small changes that will make some really big differences.
Turn off notifications
“It takes an average of 15 minutes to recover from a 1 minute interruption. How many times does your phone buzz or your email pop-up, or that little red flag catch your eye?
“Turn off all unnecessary notifications – especially email and social media. Then you can start paying attention to those things when you choose to. You’ll be amazed at how much more focus that gives you.”
Walk and talk
“Phone calls, teleconferences and 1-1 catch ups – if you don’t actually need to be at a screen, why not walk and talk instead?
“Exercising releases endorphins, makes us happier and keeps our bodies active and healthy – and it also gets our brains working better. Brain activity increases after a 20 minute walk, and the change of scenery can also help us think more creatively.”
“The human brain is made up of 75% water and even mild dehydration can affect our mental performance as well as our mood and physical energy. If you’re feeling sluggish or foggy, it might not be coffee you need, but water.”
Charge your phone downstairs
“Facebook stealing your sleep? Checking email first thing in the morning? Chances are you have your phone on charge next to your bed. Studies suggest that even the mere presence of a smartphone can reduce cognitive capacity – not to mention that blue light affecting your sleep.
“Do yourself a favour and remove the temptation. Put your phone on charge away from the bedroom, and get yourself an old-fashioned alarm clock instead.”
Eliminate tiny decisions
“Our ability to make decisions is a depleting resource. The more decisions we have to make, the quicker we reach decision fatigue.
“That’s why deciding what to have for dinner at the end of the day is so exhausting, and also why car salesmen ask so many questions. Don’t waste your decision making energy on trivial decisions. Barack Obama and Einstein always wore the same suit – one less decision to make.”
Switch off, recharge
“Work expands to fill the time available. Working longer hours doesn’t mean you get more done – it just means you take more time doing it. Give yourself a definite finish time when you leave work – mentally and physically.
“And don’t just go on standby, waiting to go back to work again. Do something that actually recharges you, so you can come back with fresh energy and ideas. Recharging isn’t a luxury, it’s fuel for your productivity.”