by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Here is something that I swear by and I think you may want to consider.  Despite being the VP of Sales for my company, having lots of friends that I speak with on a regular basis, emails that potentially are opportunities, and social media accounts, I do not have any notifications on my phone.  I am not trying to say that I am super important or anything like that.  I am simply illustrating that I am not living a life of writing a book while locked in a remote cabin somewhere in the mountains purposely trying to avoid all contact and distraction.  I lead a regular life just like most people, and this works just fine for me.

But yes, you read that correctly, I do not allow my phone to constantly distract me and dictate my life.  THAT is self-imposed urgency that I do not want to allow in my life.  You see, I learned a little while ago that nothing is as urgent as we may think it is.  It is true, it’s just a hard thing to get through your head and to unlearn.  We all live in a world now where everything is available to us all the time.  Through social media, anything that happens anywhere around the world is front and center in my phone all the time.  The news and mainstream media follow suit, where anything that occurs anywhere in the world and it is thrown onto the screen as if it was something you need to be aware of right now.

NONE OF THIS IS TRUE…

You Do Not need to know what is going on somewhere on the other side of the planet.  You don’t.  Period, hard stop.  And you certainly do not need your phone vibrating every few seconds from notices about a new TikTok video being posted, an Instagram update from some random celebrity you follow, or one of your friends posting that they are headed to Starbucks.  NONE of this is essential information that you are responsible for and/or need to know.  And certainly at night, the only way for someone to reach me is to be on my very short “favorites” list in my phone.  My phone will not make any noise at night unless someone on my favorites list try to reach me.

I can personally attest that I function better, get more done, and live with far less anxiety because of this practice.  So to reiterate, I do not allow any notifications on my phone, period.  In the past ten years, there has been one true emergency, and since it was a family member, my phone rang loudly and woke me up.  My Dad had been in a car accident in the mountains on the way home from a fishing trip.  He was okay, luckily.  I spoke with my stepmom to see what was needed from me to help.  OTHER THAN THIS, nothing has been urgent enough for me to be disturbed.

Now, to be clear, I am not ignoring my phone all day long.  I need to return emails and communicate with customers and potential clients.  I do check in on my social media stuff. BUT, I do it on my time.  I check my email on a regular basis, a couple of times a day.  I do it in batches, controlling my time and my attention.  I OWN MY TIME, I am the one who dictates the flow of my day and where my attention is directed.  I have tried it the other ways, and it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t work for me and I find it very hard to believe it works for you as well.  Let’s be serious, the human brain is not designed to be jumping from ne thing to another every few seconds and have any kind of reasonable retention or quality output.  Any time you see an athlete fail or a professional stumble and have to collect themselves, it is almost always due to losing focus.  Do you really want to “train” yourself to operate in this manner?  If you said yes to that, or think you are the exception to the rule out of 7.5 billion others on the planet, you are wrong.

Do yourself a favor and start practicing an improved level of self control in this area.  You will be surprised how much better it works, and how much more productive you are.  You will get more done, retain more information and have better recall when you need it.  If you are studying for tests or preparing for an interview or important presentation and not creating the right environment for it, you are once again preparing to fail.  Depending on when you were born, you may have used this ineffective approach to operate for much of your life.  This means that it will take some work to undo this conditioning, but stick with it.  It will be well worth it in the long run.  And think of how many people operate this way already, and what an advantage it will be to do it differently.

You may need to try this a few different ways until you figure it out and dial in what truly works for you.  Most things are like that, so don’t feel bad if you try and fail, just be sure to try again.  This is a really important step in gaining control of your life, your time and your focus.  By doing so, you will shorten your learning curve, accelerate your growth and think more clearly.  Reducing the constant interruptions will lower your anxiety and help you sleep better.  ALL of this is important to a happy and healthy lifestyle, and what I firmly believe is what most everyone wants for themselves.

I wish you luck in this and other endeavors.

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