‘Focus on being productive instead of busy’
~ Tim Ferris
Productivity is my specialist subject area. I am constantly researching ways to be more productive and make the most of my time. I have investigated and tried out numerous techniques to become more productive.
One of my favourite books on this subject is How to Be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott, I highly recommend this book if you are interested in becoming more productive. I have implemented many of the techniques the author suggests with much benefit.
I’ve recently changed my phone habits and notifications in order to become less distracted by my mobile phone and allowing myself to focus on each thing I am working on with no interruptions.
One area of productivity where I still want to make a change is to eliminate checking social media from my morning routine. I have an ingrained habit of waking up, reaching for my phone and then convincing myself I’ll just have a quick check of Facebook and then 20 or even 30 mins later I’m still ploughing through it, maybe with a bit of Instagram and if I am getting really distracted a quick check of my e-mails thrown in for good measure!
I love my morning routine. This sets the tone for my day. The more successful my morning routine is, the better day I seem to have. I try to make it as productive as possible. If I manage to exercise, write, read, eat a healthy breakfast and prepare lunch to take to work with me, I am super happy!
I have figured out that rather than using this valuable time in the morning to check social media, it is better for me to use my 30 min commute for this purpose (I get the metro, I’m not driving!) My new mission is to only allow myself to check social media during this time. I want to couple that with reducing the overall time I spend looking at social media for personal use.
I have been researching techniques to help me try and cut this habit and have the following advice for anyone trying to do the same thing:
1) Shock yourself by using the Check Battery function
If you use an iPhone (I am sure there will be similar functions on other phones) and go to Settings>Battery and scroll down you can see how much time you have spent on each app on your phone in the last 24 hours and the last 7 days. The results can shock you into realising you need to reduce this. It gives you a target to try and reduce the following 24 hours.
Imagine my disbelief when I checked this functionality and it indicated that I had been on Facebook for 5.5 hours in the last 7 days. 5.5 hours?? Imagine what I could use that time for that would have been far more productive.
2) Use the Break Free App
Another good app to help curb your morning social media addiction is called Break Free. If you download this app, it shows you how many times you have unlocked your phone each day and the total amount of time you have spent on your phone. Again you can try and reduce the amount of screen unlocks you do each day. Having this target can help to make you more mindful about your phone usage.
3) Leave your phone out of reach
If you don’t leave your phone by the bed you won’t be able to reach for it first thing after you wake up. By the time you have got up to be able to access your phone, hopefully you will have already lost the urge to waste time checking your social media apps.
4) Make a morning routine schedule
If each night before you go to bed, you make a list of all the things you want to do the next morning, and leave that list where your phone used to be located (before you started leaving it out of reach) you can replace the habit of picking up your phone first thing and change it to picking up your morning routine schedule. As soon as you wake up reach for the list, read it and remind yourself of what you want to achieve. Social media checking should not feature on that list.
5) Delete the social media apps from your phone
If you delete Facebook or other social media apps from your phone, you will not be able to check them first thing in the morning unless you open it up on your laptop, which is much less likely to happen. I have really resisted this one until now, but then last night decided to go for it and give it a try! I am hoping this will make a real difference. Certainly this morning I have not yet been on Facebook.
6) Replace the habit with something else
If you are very used to waking up, picking up your phone and checking social media, it can help to find something else to do instead to replace that habit. Maybe you can leave a book by your bed and you can wake up and read a few pages. Or you can leave your gym kit out next to you and you can wake up and get dressed ready to exercise. Alternatively you can leave a notebook next to your bed and you can write something as part of your morning routine. I have left my Happiness Planner next to my bed, so am waking up and completing that.
I must confess that I am still on a journey with this, and still feel tempted to check social media as soon as I wake up, but I find that all the points above are helping and I am hoping to change my habit over time, so that I no longer feel tempted. Give me a few weeks and I hope to have nailed it!
I’d love to hear if you have any other techniques of reducing the amount you check social media, or changing the time you check it. Also do you have any good app recommendations for helping you achieve this?