Today I managed to get a TON of work done by using one very simple idea: I shut off all access to the outside world for six hours. Six. Entire. Hours.
I never tried this before, because to be honest, I hate being disconnected. It is almost painful to be disconnected. I love having Hootsuite running in the background while I work at my computer so I can keep constant tabs on what’s going on with my Twitter tweeps, my Facebook friends, and my LinkedIn connections. I generally have at least 6 twitter streams open at once, to follow everything from #genealogy to #finance to #socialmedia. I receive email notifications when someone retweets one of my tweets, or re-pins something I pinned on Pinterest, or for a dozen other inconsequential reasons. Oh, and let’s not forget updates to Goodreads and my Google Plus circles. There is a constant stream of information which, although useful at times, there are days that it just serves to distract.
In a sense I could probably use SMAA (Social Media Addicts Anonymous) if there is such an organization. If there isn’t one, my guess is eventually there will be. Maybe I should consider starting a group.
Back to the point. I finally took the advice of many productivity gurus out there and just shut it all down. It was not easy. I still needed my browser, thus the Hootsuite app icon stared me in the face every time I opened a new window. It took real control not to click on it– just because. I quit my mail program and resisted the temptation to re-open it. I ignored all of the little pop-up messages on my iPhone keeping me updated on activity in my networks.
The thing is — it worked wondrously. Something happened after about an hour of resisting — I completely forgot I was disconnected. I was so attuned to the project I was working on that I just kept plowing ahead with my work, not thinking about my social media peeps (no offense). My new resolution is to disconnect every day for at least two hours. I think I can vastly improve my life with this one simple trick. Yes, I said life. More accomplished during the week = less work to do on the weekends. That is an improvement on life.
If you’ve been having trouble focusing, and wondering why you just never seem to have enough time in the day, try disconnecting, even if only for an hour to start. I don’t think you’ll regret it.