Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Clutter and Simplification

I'm releasing the third mini manual in the Coffee Shop Personal Development series.

This is the Simplification book.

Simplification was actually pretty tough for me to write about. It's easier for me to take the general "feel better and forgive yourself" non specific stuff and provide set exercises and actions you can use to do it than it is for me to give really clear examples for simplifying and cleaning up your life.

Here's the short chapter 3 (the long part is repeating the exercise)

I mentioned that checking email 30 times a day was a form of clutter. A distraction that prevents your attention and focus. Scrolling through the open tabs in your browser is similar. And social media inputs, messaging, and phone calls.

These are distractions and clutter, but they are also life structures. As are errands, background distractors like having CNN or PBS radio in the background.

Checking email may be a habit of distraction, but there’s a structure to having that always available. There’s a structure to having notification for incoming messages on. It seems like social media is designed so that you almost have to structure your life around multiple daily, even multiple hourly, distractions to keep up.

Interruptions- from family, friends, or coworkers are probably a life structure. Spending time is with others is a positive life structure, but allowing interruptions that aren’t necessary is a life structure that sucks your time.

So here we will start with the first exercise. Find a life structure that sucks your time and attention, and change it. Start with something simple, like turning off your phone ringer AND vibrate when doing a task. Or eliminating email notifications. If you work at home and have kids (I do, so I know this one well), define times where you aren’t available for interruptions.

As with most of my exercises, I’m looking for simple and effective. Pick one to start with. Write it down in the notebook. You can, if you want, note how many times you do check social media each day first, and then set it so there’s no notifications and you check twice a day. You can record the differences that way. But trust that the differences will be pretty extreme as you take the idea of restructuring forward.

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