We all have cell phones, so come on let’s get real (kudos to you if you caught that reference).
We all know that smartphones can be a major distraction. And, another post about the problem it represents isn’t going to solve the problem. Not by a long shot. So, let’s get over ourselves.
What we can do is get excited about an idea.
Personally, I’m looking to achieve more in 2019 than I did in 2018. And, that’s an idea I can get excited about.
What can you get excited about looking ahead?
Identifying Your Highest Value Activity
Now, I should mention at the outset that what we’re discussing here has more to do with being effective than being productive. It’s not just about getting things done. It’s about getting the right things done.
For me, that means writing more.
I enjoy writing (regardless of whether I’m any good at it). Writing helps me make a living. It organizes my thoughts. It builds my authority and credibility. It results in content that drives traffic to my website. It adds value to others.
Further, I can re-purpose my writing into presentations, books and courses. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that writing represents a huge portion of the contribution I make and the value I add to the world.
Spending More Time on Your Highest Value Activity
So, how do I get more writing done?
That’s an important question to ask as I look toward what I want to accomplish in 2019.
I don’t have any more time than I had before. Arguably, with the number of projects I have on the docket, I have less time for writing.
I don’t have any more motivation than I had before. I believe I’m just as motivated as I ever was. Maybe more.
As for energy, I think I have more than I did in 2018. But it’s a delicate thing, and if I don’t protect my health, I can just as easily lose that energy. If I don’t do the right things — eat well, exercise and get the right amount of sleep each night — I won’t have the energy I need to do the work I need to do.
So, the only thing I can do to accomplish more is optimize my habits.
I think it’s fair to say that nobody’s habits are perfect. That means there’s always room for improvement, assuming you’re interested in improvement.
Making Better Use of Your Smartphone Time
“But what does all of this have to do with your phone?” you may ask.
So, here’s what I’m planning to change in 2019.
I recently listened to Chris Brogan talk about his process for writing books on his podcast, Making the Brand.
He shared about how he would use Google Docs to write. This meant that he could write regardless of where he was, so long as he had a mobile device with him.
That got me thinking. What I came to recognize was that I had some mental blocks around doing work on my smartphone.
If I was going to do any writing at all, it was going to be at my desktop at home, or on my laptop at a place of my choosing. That’s how I used to think.
What listening to Brogan taught me is that writing could be done anywhere so long as I had my phone with me.
Guess how I’m writing this blog post right now?
I admit — while I’m not one to phone gaze, as I see many people out there doing — I still end up checking in on Facebook, Twitter and Medium all the time.
Sure, it’s good to check in and respond to those who’ve interacted with me, but beyond that it quickly devolves into finding something to pass the time and alleviate my boredom. More importantly, I’m not engaging with the world around me.
I’ve decided that a better use of my phone would be to spend that time creating. And, if I happen to be in an environment where I don’t have access to my desktop or laptop, I’ll probably still have my phone with me. Writing would be a better use of my time than checking in on social media.
Note: You should carry your charger with you if you’re planning to use your phone to do work.
Get Started Now
Now, as I’ve already shared, writing is likely the highest and best use of my time. That doesn’t mean it’s the highest use of your time. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things you can do with your phone.
Perhaps you could spend your time taking courses and learning new skills, answering questions on Quora, making to-do lists in Evernote, or whatever the case might be.
Sure, you can still check in on social media. But the idea is to replace that lull, that moment of boredom (and the assumption that boredom is bad), or that addiction to notifications with something healthier and more productive.
Jordan Harbinger says he uses that time to send texts and connect with friends. I could see that being a better use of one’s idle time too.
I don’t believe in overextending myself and burning out. And, I don’t think you should either. So, if making a little tweak to your habits results in unwanted stress and fatigue, then don’t do it. Opt to be in the moment instead.
Honestly, the obsession with productivity is ridiculous. Anybody can get a lot done. It’s not about that. It’s about being effective. Getting more of the right things done. If you don’t focus on that, you’ll end up exactly where other workaholics have ended up. Ask yourself honestly if that’s what you want.
Those who know what to focus on are reaping the rewards of focusing on what matters, achieving more with less.