Getting my attention back

Recently, I started working as an Independent designer. Being independent comes a lot of responsibilities like marketing, time management & business growth. But one of the things I particularly struggle with is focus & attention while working.

It all started with installing apps to do my jobs like connecting with friends, replying emails. I love products that help me get my job done effectively & efficiently. But at some time, almost all of the products want to grab my attention with lots of push notifications, badges, marketing emails, want me to spend more & more time on their platform by exploiting human behavior. For a person like me who highly depend on the smartphone for almost all his stuff, it’s becoming constantly challenging to stay on top of the game. It’s getting more & more hard for me to focus on work & pushing myself. Even small things like badge icons have the same capability to equal stress as emails. It’s going into the information overload direction & want me to consume more or to spend more time.

This new year, I decided to give a spin to my interaction with the digital world & especially social media. Also, one of my goals this year is to create a balance between consumption & creation. So, I laid down a plan to strategically manage my social media, smartphone & time. Though, blaming only smartphone for getting lost my focus is not fair. Lots of workloads & pushing myself as a freelancer also resulted in bad habits & ultimately on my health. Here are some of the questions I ask myself before getting started:

  • What value do I want to get out of each social platform?
  • What products are creating unnecessary clutter & what I can’t leave without?
  • How I want to spend my time?

Some of the steps I took:

  • Uninstalled all social & unnecessary apps (who I didn’t use in past two weeks) from my smartphone. Moved to Buffer to manage & post to all my social media accounts.
  • Turned off notifications for all of the apps except phone, calendars & reminders.
  • Unfollowed people on Twitter & Instagram who were not adding value
  • Unsubscribed from almost all the newsletters & applied manual filters to all emails & categorized them into social, finance & marketing emails. Having a much cleaner inbox right now.
  • Started meditating & exercise on regular basis.

For around past 2-3 weeks, after applying these small tactics to my daily life, I’m feeling better, more productive & focused on my work. So, how do you deal with your daily habits? Is there any hierarchy in place? How did you overcome your habits? I’ll be more than happy to hear your story. If you have a certain urge to respond to this, you can also email me your thoughts.