The advent of connected devices has been an incredible boon to business. You can be sitting at the coffee shop enjoying a book and then take a dip into your email. You can be sitting at the park enjoying the view, and still get a bit done.
While there are many benefits to having this fantastic device that’s connected to the world, there are also some substantial drawbacks. The biggest drawback is that you can work from anywhere, and so many of us do that.
Between stories our kids are telling us we dip into email for a few seconds making them wait while we “be productive”. We’re out on some mountain, and our phone beeps to tell us that there is now something in our inbox to steal our attention.
We no longer have margin in our lives.
Our dinner with friends becomes a contest to see who can post the best picture of food and thus get the most likes. We spend more time tracking our social media feedback than we do connecting with the friends we are supposed to be spending time with.
Rx: 5 Rest: Be with people and serve them. But be sure to get away and rest occasionally. Escape. Relax. Sleep in. Take a nap. Unplug the phone and turn off the beeper. – Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives
If the lack of margin in your life is exhausting you here are some habits designed to seize margin.
Delete your email
It’s amazing that I can run my business from my phone. It’s also terrible that I can run my business from my phone. It sits in my pocket beeping and booping at me with all the things that others think are important for me.
At least it did that until I removed email from my phone.
For most of the business emails you write, your phone is a poor place to deal with them. It’s got a tiny screen and typing isn’t accurate.
Oh, sure you can make it work, but it’s less than ideal.
Despite all the extra work it takes for most of us to deal with email on our phones, we find one email a week that was easy, so we persist in the lie that it’s a good idea to dip into email from our phones.
Instead, turn off your email on your phone. Let it sit there not bothering you while you engage with the world around you. If someone has an urgent item, they’ll call you. If it’s not worth a call, then it’s not urgent.
Do not disturb mode
When Apple added Do Not Disturb mode to my phone, it was a blessing. Now from the hours of 4 pm till 10 am no one can get in touch with me on my phone except my VIP list.
That list includes one person, my wife. None of our family lives inside 50 hours of driving. If they have an emergency, there is nothing I can do.
If you want to retake your attention, make a list of the people that can disturb you and only let that small group of people have access to you.
Everyone else can wait.
Don’t take your phone
You can take the idea of Do Not Disturb a step further by not even having your phone in your pocket when you’re with friends. When we go over to a friend’s house, I leave my phone in my shoe at the front door. I’m there to spend time with a friend, not check my phone.
By removing the temptation entirely, you can enjoy the time with your friends instead of feeling the itch in a moment of boredom to check in on all the things that you might be missing online.
Create a charging space
When you’re home, do you need your phone in your pocket? At our house, we emptied a drawer below our TV and placed a power-bar inside. That’s where devices go when we’re at home.
The ringers are still loud enough that you can hear them, but your phones aren’t in your pockets all the time.
Because they aren’t in your pocket you’re going to look silly at first as you reach into an empty pocket but the long-term benefit of breaking the distraction habit is worth the momentary change in behavior.
Take a dumb camera
Despite how awesome the camera is on phones today, they still don’t look nearly as nice as something like a Canon 60D. A nice DSLR also has the advantage of not being connected to 20,000 distractions.
Instead of taking your phone out for pictures, invest in a decent camera. It doesn’t have to be a fancy DSLR, go for a nice point and shoot.
Having a boring dumb camera will mean that you can leave your phone buried in your bag. You can enjoy the moment and get a few pictures without distractions getting tossed at you.
Adding these four practices to your daily connected workflow will mean that you have time to connect to those that are important to you.
If your phone isn’t in your pocket, then you can’t distract yourself when there is a momentary lapse in discussion. You have to engage with the people in front of you.
If you can do this, you’ll create space in your life. Space is where creative thoughts happen. Space is where relationships flourish. With creativity brimming in your life and strong relationships around you, you’ve got a great platform to build that business you’ve always wanted.
You’ll be able to reach out to those friends when you need help. You’ll be more likely to disrupt your industry because you have time to think new thoughts.
That’s what we all want, isn’t it? We want a business that’s dynamic. We want friendships that we can rely on when things are tough.
Now get out there and be intentional about creating those things you want.