Would You Like An Extra Month Of Writing Time?
Imagine having all that time to write
What would you do if you had an extra month this year, just to write?
Get to the end of your current draft?
Write enough blogs to post for the rest of the year?
Master Amazon or Facebook ads and sell more books?
Finally start that memoir which you’ve been putting off because you just don’t have the time?
The one common thread to every productivity book I’ve read in the last twelve months
A year ago, I decided to take a break from my day job because I was incredibly burned out. Years of stressful work, juggling the needs of my aging parents, squeezing writing into the cracks of time and continually facing and pushing through my fears took their toll.
To avoid a repeat of this situation, I’ve spent the last few months reading books and taking courses about mind management, energy management and time management.
There is one thing they all mention as the greatest time-suck and destroyer of brain energy….
…. You guessed it….
Yes, that amazing piece of technology, possibly in your hand right now, which allows you to carry the internet in your pocket, run a business on the move and has more processing power than the NASA computers that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon.
But it is also destroying our minds.
On average, British people spend 2 hours and 34 minutes online on their smartphones every day.
How often have you promised that you’ll just look at Instagram for five minutes, but twenty minutes later, you’re still scrolling?
How many times do you check Facebook, just to see if someone has answered a question you posed in a group, but then you get lost in a vortex of cat videos, political rants and envy-inducing vacation snaps?
It might seem harmless to have a quick look while you boil the kettle, but are you enhancing your mind or depleting it when you do this? Has the kettle long since boiled and you’re still scrolling?
When you finally put the phone down, have you forgotten what you were doing before you picked it up, when you intended to check just one thing?
All of this destroys not only your time management but also the quality of your thinking. It takes longer to get a task done whether that is in your day job, your side hustle or your writing life.
Phone usage also burns through valuable rest and recreation time which would be much more beneficial to you than gawping at a 6 x 3 inch screen.
Of course, not all phone time is bad. You might be reading something on your Kindle app, learning ten words a day in Italian or staying in touch with an old school friend.
But let’s say that you do just thirty minutes a day of mindless scrolling
THAT EQUATES TO A MONTH OF WORKING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here’s the maths for that:
30 minutes x 7 days a week = 3 ½ hours.
Multiply that by 52 weeks a year = 182 hours.
Let’s divide that by an 8 hour work day = 22 ¾ days
On a Monday to Friday work schedule there are an average of 21 ¾ working days in a month.
And you’re burning 22 ¾ on your phone?!!!
What could you do with that time?
4 Ways To Reduce Your Screen Time
1) Turn off all notifications
If you text me, I won’t know about it immediately because there is no sound alert on my phone for a text message. If you send me a WhatsApp, I won’t get distracted by it because I’ve turned off all the notifications. I can catch up on group conversations when I’m good and ready not when they are pinging off in real-time.
Similarly for emails on my phone and computer, I look when I’m ready not when they’re ready.
To turn off notifications on your phone, on Android go to Settings, then choose Apps & Notifications, then Notification Management. On an iPhone go to Settings, then choose Notifications. From there you can disable them for each App that is intrusive and annoying.
2) Leave your phone in a different room when you are working
If my phone is next to me when I am working, I will pick it up and look at it. I appear to have zero self-control.
This happens when I am doing other important activities such as my Buddhist chanting. To combat this, I have to leave the phone in a different room, then I forget all about it and get on with the task in hand.
3) Put your phone in Airplane or Do Not Disturb (DND) mode
This is another way of silencing your phone when you are deep in concentration. Up to 60% of the working day is spent recovering from distractions.
You can activate Airplane or DND mode in the Settings. This way, if anyone phones, they’ll go straight to voicemail and you won’t see all the notifications.
Before you scream, but what if my kid’s school phones or my elderly father needs my help – within the settings for these modes you can specify certain numbers which can still get through. That way if your phone rings, you’ll know it is a genuine emergency.
4) Revise the “I Don’t” methodology
Using the phrase “I don’t” puts you in charge of your choices.
You could say:
I don’t look at my phone after 8pm
I don’t look at emails before I’m dressed
I don’t look at social media unless it is a Friday
You can read the article here: Do You Want To Smash Your Time Management? These two words will help
Imagine what you could do with that time
Taming your phone use not only frees up the time you waste doom-scrolling but it also reduces distraction recovery time and the toll on your mental energy.
Imagine what you could do with an extra half an hour a day.
You could write a 750 word blog post or a few more paragraphs of your novel or edit a piece you drafted yesterday.
You could market your writing so that more people get to read and enjoy it.
Or you could relax and replenish your physical and mental energy.
Or go and do something fun.
Imagine if you could create an extra month of writing time.
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Great advice. The smartphone is incredibly addictive. When I've got my act together, like you, I can keep it under control. But I had to delete FB, log out of Pinterest, and refuse to look at IG or emails before lunch time. And the Do Not Disturb is perfect for when I'm writing. Hours of delicious uninterrupted silence.
Great reflection! We all know the issues with the smartphone, but when you put it into perspective and realize how much time it’s actually sucking it from us, it’s pretty scary to think about!