Unplug at Night and with Distance

Photo of someone looking at their phone in the middle of the night outdoors

On an episode of MarieTV, Arianna Huffington shared her tips for improving sleep. She is a big advocate for sleep after passing out from exhaustion during her startup years. She suggested to not place your phone next to your bedside at night. You should place it across the room or outside of it to steer you away from viewing your screen at night and really wind down from internet noise.

After some practice, I did end up developing this habit over a month ago now; and I must say it’s a small change that has been very beneficial. I charge my phone across my bedroom now, and when I set this up each night, it gives me permission to really shut off distractions like email and social media browsing while laying in bed. Because my phone is my alarm clock, this walk across the room to shut off my alarm gets me up right away each morning without hesitation or the easy opportunity to hit snooze. Of all the habits I have been trying lately, this one has stuck with me quite well.

There are holes, however; though it’s not directly related to the habit. For example, staying off my phone at night doesn’t necessarily make me have a better night’s sleep. Just because I’m off my phone doesn’t mean my mind completely shuts off. I’m still an avid thinker being the night owl that I am. However, the permission to stop electronics at night is great, and the immediate walk to turn off my alarm in the morning is even better—in fact that is my favorite benefit.

If you keep your phone at arms reach from your bed at night, I encourage you to give this habit a try. It may at least help you better define your start and end sleep times.


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Podcast: Arianna Huffington on Redefining Success, MarieTV


 

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Remove Time Thieves

Know the difference between important and urgent, and do important first. – Steven Pressfield

Time is a Poor Indicator

Tim Ferriss argues that time spent at the office is a terrible metric for productivity. Often times we are spending our time doing unimportant tasks simply to fill up the time. Location in the office doesn’t mean you are spending time doing the right things. Focus on the 80/20 rule where 20% of the work produces 80% of the results. How do you know if something is important? Ask yourself, “If this was the only thing I did today, would I be happy with this day?”

Get rid of time thieves and focus only on what is important. Email is one of our greatest time thieves, and Ferriss stresses to not start our days by reading email, as do many other people I’ve researched. In fact, he challenges you to only check email twice a day and get it down to once per week. Can you imagine!?

Don’t Take Calls

Tim Ferriss says that one way we can save time is by letting phone calls go to voicemail, text, or email to answer later. Very rarely does a call require the need to interrupt your work at that moment to tend to its distraction. Add the task of addressing calls to the time block when you address email, and do it in a concentrated time.

Urgent verse Important Tasks

Maria Forleo highlights Steven Pressfield’s work when she describes that there is a difference between urgent and important tasks. Urgent tasks often only feel urgent, and these tasks will always keep you behind. The moment someone says “this task is urgent”, you put on hold your entire planned workflow to fix this one urgent thing. At this point, you get off track, and it eats up time to get back on track. Lastly, things that are “urgent” often relate to other people’s goals, not your own; therefore, it’s a bit hard to get your real mission work done.


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Hit the Buzzer First

Photo of a buzzer

In a MarieTV podcast episode, Seth Godin talks with Marie Forleo about not waiting for the right moment. Godin explains that some people are more productive than others because they have the instinct to ship, and they generate output by doing so. They don’t have an instinct to polish.

“Most people hesitate to ship not because it’s not ready but because they are afraid.”

Godin continues to share this concept with an observation about Jeopard. People who win at that game may not be smarter than the other contestants, but they know how to press the buzzer first. They hit the buzzer before they know the answer. In that last moment, they come up with a response to say. Whether it’s right or not, they seize the opportunity to try to win.

When you’re invited to give a presentation, when you’re given a project assignment, when you sign up for something to do–you don’t have that thing done before you commit to doing it. You hit the buzzer first and work on completing it before deadline. Most people hesitate to commit to anything because of fear in their output.


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