I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity as of late. How do I get the most out of my days? How do I make every minute well-spent? How do I accomplish what I set out to do in the beginning of the day.
I was having coffee in NYC with Ryan Holiday and this particular subject came up. He told me about how he gets a tremendous amount of work done on planes. He never opt-ins to buying wifi, because that’s just a distraction.
It then occurred to me what the enemy of productivity is. The enemy is push. Push notifications in all it’s forms, SMS, twitter mentions, path updates, emails and it goes on and on and on.
We’ve been trained that it’s okay to be interrupted by these notifications. We are supposed to have our fingers on these digital triggers or else we are deemed rude or douchey. And hey, most of us are cool with it because it only takes a few seconds to respond.
These notifications although disguised as harmless little things ruins the key to getting good work done. The key is flow. To be most effective and efficient, you need to be distraction-free and focus on that task at-hand. Interruptions get you out of the zone.
The solution is simple. Don’t let push notifications push you around. Block off your day into slots for doing different tasks. 1 hour to give feedback on your friend’s project, 1 hour to code that feature, 1 hour to spend quality time with your mom etc… Then schedule some time in to answer your notifications in bulk. 30 minutes in the beginning, middle and end of day for email, social media responses can occur all at the end of the day etc… Whatever works for you.
One caveat, this requires a ton of obedience. It’s so easy to just mess up and go check Twitter or Facebook. But remember if you stick with this, it will deeply improve the quality of your business and personal life. With less time wasted, better work done and more time to spend with friends and family, you’ll be happy you’ve given up getting pushed around.
What are some ways that you combat the push? Do you use any tools? I’ve heard good things about AwayFind.