If there is one thing that has exponentially increased since our 2020 hard lockdown, it is all the noise we are receiving from every possible platform available. If you are on Facebook, you would have noticed a phenomenal increase in adverts and the same via email marketing, Instagram, YouTube, Google etc. The new podcast trend has us multitasking at new levels of fear of someone asking whether we have listened to the latest industry specific podcast and even if we did, has any of it actually penetrated to the point of sticking?
One of the reasons that we are so caught up in this, is that we truly are now solidly moving into the Fourth Industrial Revolution which was expedited by a year of lockdown, which fuelled both desperation and creativity. The average Joe Soap who had seldom ventured onto these platforms are not only now the latest crypto fundi but has also established an online shop, posts three videos a week and blogs like a maniac. He/she DMs you from as far as Russia as part of their personal wealth and success strategy.
As businesspeople, we have our own set of challenges, one of which may also be, how to become more visible on these platforms. The challenge of getting through one chunk of work without being distracted at least 5 times, is reaching significant levels and short of taking medication we are having to learn how to maintain focus and achieve our pre-planned results for the day.
Shiny object syndrome is now a real thing, with so many courses offering us the latest strategy, platform, structure, and quick fix for a quick buck that we are constantly ‘busy’ being busy, learning the latest thing that we may never apply but cannot imagine life without, until we have purchased it. Just like a cardigan bought on sale, it often lies in file X, never to be watched or used. Fuelled by our FOMO, wanting to be an early adopter and a desire to stay ahead of the current curve we are chasing, often panting, after the next new.
How do we stop, when our emails keep popping up, in fierce competition with our WhatsApp messages and now Messenger too? Our phone screen is lit up with little spots, dots and stars reminding us to check our many posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and IMO and we constantly feel like a person with an unopened pile of mail in the in-basket.
Here are a few small, simple doable steps I am personally trying to implement to stop this craziness and return to my inner knowing and guidance.
- Assess everything
For one week observe and assess the joy and value things bring you. Does the FB group you check in on resonate, add value to your life or simply cause you to feel less smart and efficient than those posting 24/7? Have you met some friends, done some business, or learnt something new you would not have learned otherwise? If any or all the above receive a tick mark, it can stay for another while. Some will be obvious distractors, worth quietly slipping away from. Others are worth keeping just to make sure, while others add value in the form of humour, camaraderie and real knowledge to our lives and are keepers.
There is great power in the UNSUBSCRIBE button and it is not personal. There is not a person in most cases, who gets mortally wounded when you press the UNSUBSCRIBE button and remember you can always re-subscribe, they will never turn you down. If you have not read the last 3 newsletters, you most likely will not read the next 3. During 2020 lockdown I took a full day to simply manage my email and Face Book spam. Needless to say, I am back up to the original quota and need a good clean out again. Like wire hangers, subscriptions multiply during the night.
- Be clear
We are most easily distracted when we are not clear on our own dreams, desires, and goals. This is exactly when someone, who is clear, sucks you into their vortex and sells to you. Every site, every sales pitch, every challenge is there to draw you into a conversation which ultimately leads to a sales conversation which may lead to a sale but will certainly become a distraction. Remember the wise old words, ‘There is nothing like a free lunch.’ It could be updated to ‘There is nothing like a FREE eBook.’ There is a catch, it is part of a marketing strategy and you are the target.
- Fail fast
Our distractions are fuelled by our own underlying feelings, beliefs, and desires. I get distracted by all this stuff because I am afraid to choose the wrong platform and then must do it all again. Researching, learning, and scrolling endlessly has got me no closer to my goal. Infact, it probably has me more confused. I am now procrastinating, even more confused than before, by all the choices. Had I just failed fast, I may have learnt some valuable lessons whilst also having some successes along the way.
- Switch if off
Perhaps the toughest thing, but one of the most valuable actions is simply not to switch your phone or other communication device on for the first hour of your working day, at least one day a week. This may require informing everyone, leaving an automated response, or placing a ‘I AM THINKING’ sign on your office door. You will be amazed at the results you achieve from two hours once a week dedicated to thinking.
These may all sound obvious and super simple, but why are we not taking the actions we know will work? The answer is simple. Underlying our busyness is a deep-seated fear of not keeping up, not being smart enough, not working hard enough or not being perceived to be successful, which seems directly linked to frantic busyness.
Of all the time saving, productivity strategies out there, the simplest one is to relearn to breathe, deeply, intentionally, and regularly. Through this an amazingly simple and natural act we can control our anxiety, our blood pressure, clear our thoughts and elevate our mood and quality of thinking.
Next time you feel as if you are spinning out of orbit, chasing some shiny thing you do not actually need, pause, and breathe a few deep breaths, come back to your centre, and observe the world rushing by in all its most marvelous madness.
Author: Melody Tomlinson
Business Breakthrough Coach
Performance Booster (Pty) Ltd
Mel has been a fulltime coach, facilitator, and speaker since 2007. She is the licensor of The Performance Booster Program.
Mel bases all her offerings on the fundamental principle: ‘We grow people. People grow businesses’
Contact: email@example.com to set up your exploratory chemistry session