Doing Less Can Be More

One of my favorite podcasts is Note to Self, hosted by Manoush Zomorodi. Last year, she published a book entitled “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self”. She talks about being in the moment and allowing yourself to be bored. Put the phone down, and be present with one task. How many times do you multitask each day?

Did you know that humans are horrible at multitasking? Sure, we can do it, but when we multitask, we are expending more brain energy than if we were to focus on one task at a time and move on to the next one. The brain power it takes to switch from task to task to task tires out our brains quicker.

Think about the last time you hung out with friends. How many times did you or your friends pull out your phones while with each other? Why is it that when we’re spending quality time with friends that we can’t stay present and have a conversation without bringing our phones into the mix? When my significant other and I go out to dinner, we have a rule that we don’t pull our phones out. It makes us more present with each other. When I have sessions with athletes, one of the first things I remind them of is to keep their phones in their pockets or in their bags. It helps everyone’s focus. I tell them that the only time I’ll pull out my phone is to play music for certain activities. In our world, we have a hard time staying present with all the constant distractions.

The Steve Jobs Rule: Do less, but do it better.

Steve Job studied Zen Buddhism, and he adopted a main principle, which is simplifying your life. He exercised this principle to better Apple in 1997. Spoiler alert: It worked.

-Commonsense Rules for Everyday Leaders, Tony DeMeo

Challenge time: Go to your phone’s settings and find your battery menu. Depending on the phone, you may or may not have this option. Look for a section that details how many hours are spent in usage and in standby since your last full charge. Look at how many hours you spend on your phone versus it sitting untouched. It is so easy to get distracted by each notification that pops up on our phones. For me, I intentionally turn off notifications on my front screen unless it’s a phone call, text, or a message from work. I noticed I wasn’t being present enough in my daily activities with all the potential notifications that can pop up and get into your face. I became aware of this after listening to Manoush’s Note to Self podcast where she challenged listeners to delete social media apps, turn off notifications, and be more aware of their digital distractions.

How else can you become more present in your daily life?

I spoke with a counselor about how to become more present in my daily life and to do more things for me. She suggested I come up with a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly list. The goal is to identify things for me to do every day, each week, and each month that will make me happy. My personal goal is to get away from things like tv, computer, and my phone and to do things that I enjoy. For example, on my daily list, I have 10min of mindfulness meditation, which allows me to have time for myself where I can be in a peaceful state of identifying thoughts/feelings or just sitting and relaxing without any distraction. On my weekly list, I want to write more days per week, whether that is 15min or 3 hours. On my monthly list, I want to do 1-2 hikes with my significant other since it is something we both enjoy, it gets us outdoors, and we can connect with the beautiful scenery of Colorado.

Here’s a great Ted Talk by Dr. Fader who speaks about ways to become more in the moment. Enjoy.

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