Earlier in lockdown 1, I talked about how you don’t have to develop personally in lockdown.
Here is the link to the blog and the vlog.
In essence, keeping a sense of routine and normality is in itself an achievement. You don’t have to subscribe to the pressure of performing to unrealistic standards.
But what about those of you that have a feeling of needing to achieve something more, or to do more with your time? Especially as we approach a new year. Perhaps you have adapted well and are now owning the new routine, with whichever lockdown tier you are in.
I was having a think about some of the things that have helped me during these last few months.
As I was not travelling about and was indoors much more than usual, I began to pay more attention to what I was doing with my days and where the time was going. Particularly with the idea of phone usage.
If you really want a shock, have a look at “Screen Time” if you’re an iPhone user or use/download an equivalent app that measures a whole host of different phone usage variables each day.
· how many hours per day you are on your phone,
· the time taken up by each app,
· how many times you pick up your phone in a day,
· the number of notifications, etc.
It makes for sobering viewing!
Whereas I didn’t keep the data, I discovered that gaming apps were taking up a good couple of hours each day. This might be first thing in the morning, breaks during the day and last thing at night.
Maybe you are doing the same? Whether crushing candy, mining gold coins or developing a farm...I started to question myself and what I was getting from this.
I concluded that my time could be better spent doing something else.
So, I made the decision to delete all game apps from my phone. Man...this was like trying to cut out coffee or snacks. Painful.
How could I replace this vice with something else that would curb the craving?
I needed something that would feel useful, give me that dopamine fix that games did, and that merited spending time on it.
So, I started using the Duolingo language app. I admittedly had downloaded it in 2014 but had never really used it! Another good intention that fizzled out...
I’ve always enjoyed learning languages and decided to get back into Spanish. You can comfortably use the free version if you don't mind a few adverts. I feel like my language level is improving and it satisfies that craving for competition like the game apps gave me.
Seeing a competitive leader board and being able to say, “I see you Sarah, I see you Vladimir...but I’m winning this league!” It would spur me on to learn more.
I still see the odd advert for the latest game and am tempted. But I can say now that I am into the habit of doing Spanish everyday instead.
Today in December 2020, I hit a 365-day streak! A whole year with just a few minutes per day.
Next, I started to pay attention to my personal email inbox. And I came to another realisation...
That I get a shed load of emails! Mostly newsletters, sales messages, things from shops...most of which I was actually deleting without even reading them.
Even just a few minutes each day. How much time was I wasting doing that every day over the course of a month, a quarter, a year?!
So, I set aside some time to go through them each day.
How many do you reckon?
At time of writing, I’ve reached 96 unsubscribes...and I chip away each day as required. I maintained subscriptions for those I read or have an interest in. The rest got canned.
But the bonus of spending this time was what I got back.
Not just time, but more a feeling of being in control of my inbox and not spending time on irrelevant things. And from putting the time in, I no longer get as many emails. Simple, but really useful.
My third thing that I am trying to work on.
This was actually something that was working well when driving about to meetings, and the like. Rather than have silence or music I would put on a podcast or an audiobook
More recently, unsurprisingly, my driving has been almost non-existent. Are you getting the same mileage as me? I reckon I get about 8-10 weeks per tank.
So, now I am working on getting back into this habit but when doing something else. For example, washing the dishes, cooking, admin, folding laundry (we all hate that one!) So, I make it productive and educational time!
I find that with the right kind of content linked to the mood I am in, the better I feel for the day ahead and the more I am learning.
One person I love listening to is Grant Cardone. Someone to really get you fired up for the day ahead. His book “Be Obsessed or Be Average” is brilliant. One for those wanting to 10X their lives. I must be on my 4th or 5th time through this!
These 3 simple things work. And all are helping me to build better habits that make a difference. Give them a go, or even let me know what has worked for you! I’m always on the look-out for ways to get better!