Overwhelmed, gravid, packed, stuck… all these words describe us when information from thousands of resources flows in and out of our minds, leaving its footprint in our consciousness. “Scrolling”, “share”, “like”, “post”, “Instagram”, “FB”, “Snapchat”, “newsletters”, “promote”, “lure” are buzzwords in the media, which serve its field devotedly on the way to creating disturbing and devastating “noise pollution”. We switch our attention easily from the work process to the cathing social post or silly mem, convincing ourselves that we will just spend no more than 2-3 minutes there. It can happen that a sudden unknown caller destroys our day with suggestions, ads or promo techniques just to steal our time and attention and undermine the concentration.
But have you ever counted how much time was stolen from you and how many great ideas were lost? “Noise pollution” is a hindrance to the cognitive thinking process, stopping us from using our full mental potential. This kind of a road bump for our concentration, which doesn’t let us speed up and do what we actually want and need. It sounds pretty easy when you’re told not just to pay attention to all these triggers and check your accounts twice or even onсe a day or grab our smartphone just when there is a need, but do we actually do so? Of course not, our brain is sly and lazy and has to be trained like a muscle to be responsive and adaptable.
Let’s consider some exercising machines for our minds and assistants that can help us identify who is on the other line, so we can build our concentration, focus on a daily basis and do not let things go out of hand.
Mild approach to your Mind
There are lots of applications and web-based software which allows you set a time limit and work for some period of time and then take a short break. All of them are build on the Pomodoro Technique, which is used as a timer to break your work into focused time blocks (usually 25 minutes) separated by a 5-minute break. After 4 working sessions, you can take a longer break, for about 15 or 20 minutes if it is needed. You can choose to enjoy tide sounds of the ocean, forest or rain; keep you focus straight; or simply turn on the background app at you laptop. Also, you can use a simple Timer on your smartphone.
Pomodoro Technique may help you with the balance between the focus you need and distractions. Many have reported decreased anxiety level, which helped them learn to work with time, rather than against it, and made them more efficient.
To go on with time limits, Pomodoro still requires some kind of discipline not just in surviving these 25 minutes but also having an easy access to the distraction resources. For those who need a strict training, there is also something on the digital market. Let’s find out how such programs actually work. You can block Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook from yourself with block websites & apps. All you need is just to set the timer for the amount of time you want to block your social media accounts or favorite websites and focus on the task at hand.
That was how to deal with ourselves, but what about other people? They can intervene in our day and give us a call or send a message with an irrelevant and unnecessary ad or suggestion. At such moment you don’t feel like to answer at all but what if there is something important and worth your attention? All you need is to look up for the phone number and identify the caller. You will be impressed how some services pull the information and social profiles of the person just with reverse phone lookup feature. That way you can keep control over incoming calls from irritating sellers, or automated marketing calls.
There is one standout program which combines all previously mentioned techniques in a creative way. It is a featured Forest: Plant Real Trees with Your Focus. You choose a tree, set the time, and tap Start. As you work, the tree is growing from sprout to full-blown plant. If you leave the app before the timer runs out, your tree will die. Isn’t it a good motivation? You can exchange your virtual grown plants for real trees planted in a real forest, which means your focus contributes to a better environment for all of us. Also, you can have your own forest within the app. The more you focus, the more beautiful landscape you can get.
Oops… Looks like we almost forgot about catchy and distracting newsletters which are dropping to our inbox during the day and eventually your inbox looks like a mess. Surely, it happened to everyone. When we go to any website, these pop-up windows appear on our way like hedges to the website itself. And you will not get through it unless they get your email address. Here you go, that is pretty easy and as a result, your inbox is a loaded with their news, updates, sales, catchy content. So the first pretty simple thing to do is hit the cross sing on that pop-up window and break the fence instead of going with an email permission. The second way to escape irrelevant info is to unsubscribe. Email marketing is sly and this simple but needed word is hidden at the very bottom of each letter but doing it once will save you lots of time and keep you concentrated later.
We are all concerned about the environment we live in and that it is polluted and influence our health, but “noise pollution” is even more harmful to human as it not just interfere our productivity but doesn’t allow brainstorm and use our potential. Stay “clear”, keep away, and evade this info trash.
We all complain that there are not enough hours in the day and if we had more, we would perform better and complete more tasks. But the truth is that we need to value what we have already and operate that time efficiently.
Valerie Malecha is one of the content managers for Spokeo – a people search platform helping users know more about the people in their lives through access to social media profiles, phone numbers, marital status, and more.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.