New Year, New Series
My word of the year is FOCUS. It is the first time I have chosen a work of the year but I am excited to see where it takes me. In the spirit of my word I will be doing a new series on the blog this year. Each month I am going to chose one area and tell you what I have been doing to improve my focus.
I chose focus because I am often trying to do too many things at once. My email and Facebook are constant distractions when I am working. My kids are not getting my full attention and time with my husband is often interrupted by notifications on my phone.
I knew it was time to do something to stop this constant distraction so FOCUS is my new mantra. When I feel myself being pulled in too many directions I remind myself that I can only do one thing at a time. I need to stop and decide what is most important in that moment.
This month I am focusing on technology and how to create less distraction in my day to day life. My first project was dealing with my email. I have three accounts but the only one that is an issue is my personal account. I have subscribed to way too many newsletters and store flyers. Signing in was so overwhelming, I would avoid it completely. Then I would miss important things in the 263 unread emails.
I had heard of Unroll.me in the past, even signed up and tried it once but never focused on using it correctly. So I decided to try it again. IT IS AMAZING!
Once you sign up they scan your email inbox and folders and present you with a list of all the email addresses they can find. You can then choose to unsubscribe, keep in inbox or rollup. The rollup is a daily digest of emails that you want to see but instead of getting each one individually you get them all in one email. You can see them in a gridview or a listview and click in and read which ever ones you want.
It is seriously life changing for me. I don’t mind checking my email now cause I might have three or four emails waiting for me but that is easily dealt with and I don’t have to wade through tons of emails I don’t want. The only downside has been that I get a few more junk emails in my inbox instead of my junk folder but I think that is just Unroll.me trying to learn what I want to see.
I have set my rollup to be in the gridview which means I get a screenshot of the first few paragraphs of each email. I can quickly decide what I want to click on to read and what I can skip. There are usually about 15-20 emails in each roll up so it is saving me a lot of time.
The next thing I did was go through my phone and turn off as many notifications as I could. No more dings when I get an email, no more bells when I am tagged on Facebook, no more vibrations when I am mentioned on Twitter.
Overall this has created less distraction as I go through my day. I have found myself being able to focus on my social media in a new way. Now when I check Twitter it is by choice and I have the time to send a tweet, thank someone for a retweet or like a few tweets.
It is refreshing to only click into social media when I have time to kill and not as an automatic reaction to a notification. I still need to put my phone down more but not having it constantly ding at me is making it easier to ignore for longer periods of time.
The Facebook Rabbit Hole
Facebook has always been my biggest downfall. I am totally addicted to checking it. After starting this blog I realized that whenever I was stuck or thinking I automatically checked Facebook. I would always plan to do a quick check and get back to what I was doing but Facebook sucks you in for an hour before you realize you should have been working.
So I took drastic measures…I unfollowed everyone! Not unfriended, just unfollowed. This means my feed is pretty empty. Now my feed is a few groups that I still follow and my husband and few close friends. It means I miss some announcements and some funny memes, but it is so much less addictive now.
It took a few days to go through everyone and unfollow them. I left a few groups and chose a few to stay in my feed. Mostly business and blogging groups that I use regularly.
If you want to do the same look on the left side of your feed, under your name it will say News Feed and there will be three dots to the right of that. Click on those dots and choose Edit Preferences. Click on the option that says Unfollow People to Hide Their Posts. Then click on each profile you want to unfollow and click Done at the bottom. I had to go through about five times cause Facebook kept pulling up older and older follows in an effort to fill my feed.
Has it worked?
In short, yes! I have found it much easier to focus on the task at hand. My phone is so much less distracting during the day and my email inbox is pretty much always up to date.
I have added a few people back to my Facebook feed because I realized I missed hearing what they had to say. Overall though, these changes are really refreshing.
How do you manage digital distractions?