I’m lucky—I’ve always been a fairly productive person, both in my personal and professional life. I seem to be hardwired to write ‘to do’ lists and I love to cross things off them. However, I realized a long time ago that my lists are never ending and, no matter how hard I try, I’m always disappointed that I never seem to get ahead. All this changed about two years ago, when I created some new habits to deal with the world of distraction that is now our reality.
One of the most useful new habits I have developed is to focus on 3 key daily tasks. I determine these tasks by identifying some specific goals that will deliver tangible and significant benefits to me professionally. Then I break these goals down into a series of small steps (i.e. tasks) that will lead to completing these larger accomplishments. For example, if I have a project for a client that’s due in six weeks, I work out all the tasks required to finish that project. Then I add...
Do you ever think about your relationship with your smartphone? We think about our how we interact with others, such as our partner, children, co-workers, etc. We consider those relationships often, with an understanding that they can significantly impact our health and well-being. Just look at all the number of articles, books and services on the subject. We usually know when those relationships are good for us and when they are not. But what about our smartphones?
I’ve interviewed people about their relationship with their phones and they’ve said things like “it’s a love/hate thing", "it has taken hold of me", "I panic if it’s not with me", "I wish I didn’t need it" and "I’m highly dependent on it.” If this was a friend of yours describing their relationship with someone else, I bet you’d be concerned and want to help them. But it’s just their phone, so we don’t consider it a problem.
So, how do you feel about...
In case you haven’t heard yet, Apple held its annual developers’ conference in early June. They announced some new features in iOS 12, which launches this Fall, that will “help you limit distractions, focus, and understand how you're spending your time," according to Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering. But how much can they really help, given our current obsession with screens?
The new features include a tool called Screen Time—a dashboard that will provide data on your iPhone and iPad usage. It will show you how much time you spend on each individual app and across various categories of apps, both daily and weekly. You will also see how many notifications you received and how many times you picked up your device. It will even allow you to set daily limits on how much time you want to spend on specific apps.
Apple is also improving the Do Not Disturb feature. You will be able to block calls, texts and notifications from everyone except your VIP list,...
If you’re like me, you put some thought and effort into the food you eat. I eat a lot of whole foods, with little to no processing. I make a conscious effort to eat fruits and vegetables often, and I try to stick with healthy, lean proteins. Most of the fats I eat are healthy fats and I avoid artificial additives as much as possible. Sure, I have the occasional indulgence—like buttered popcorn or, one of my favourites, a piece of dark chocolate. But I lead an active lifestyle and limit the amount of sugar in my diet. So, I’m completely comfortable with some treats mixed in with all the healthy food I consume. After all, while I try to fuel my body with foods that nourish me, I also want to enjoy life and not feel deprived.
I’ve been mindful about what I feed my body for many years, knowing how important it is. And yet, until a year and a half ago, I had never really stopped to consider what I feed my mind. But since then I have done a lot of research about...
They are called smartphones but does their effect on us make us dumb? I always thought there was a good chance that they impact our memory. When was the last time you memorized someone’s phone number or a short grocery list? We no longer need to with these handy devices in our pockets. And I knew they weren’t good for navigational skills which, I must confess, is not something I’ve ever been strong at anyway. My husband has a great sense of direction but mine is terrible so I often rely on the ever helpful and available Google Maps. But the idea that smartphones could actually make us dumb is one that never crossed my mind, until I read the results of a fascinating study from April 2017. It turns out our phones really can reduce our cognitive ability—and they can do it just by being in the room with us.
Wondering how that’s possible? Well, our capacity to think is determined by two factors: our working memory and our fluid intelligence. The first, our...
The pressure is on
You know the expression “it’s a dog-eat-dog world”? I never liked it because of the nasty image it conjures up but it does seem a fitting way to describe the business world today. Companies are cutting costs wherever they can. Jobs are being transformed or eliminated by technology. Reality is, the job market is competitive. Everyone is fighting to get ahead and stay ahead.
In this environment, landing a good job and building a successful career is not as easy as it once was. There is a lot of pressure to keep up in whatever you do for a living if you want to survive. Even more so if you want to excel and be seen as a superstar in your field. But there is plenty of opportunity in the knowledge-based industries if you have one particular skill that is highly valued yet increasingly hard to find. And that skill is the ability to do ‘deep work.’
Where opportunity lives
Knowledge industries make money based largely on extracting...
If you ask someone about their work and how it’s going, most people will complain about how busy they are. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done. We are living in a time when technology is supposed to be making our lives easier yet we are working longer hours, feeling more stressed and struggling to get our ‘to do’ list done.
Why is that? What’s behind all this busyness we’re experiencing? Although most people are quick to say they’re busy, if you asked them if they are busy being productive, I think many would say ‘no.’ If we were busy being productive, I don’t think we would have as many issues or complain as much. I think many people, upon reflection, would acknowledge they are busy being distracted. There are so many interruptions and things vying for our attention every day in the workplace.
If we were busy being productive, we would be spending time on the things that really matter to our...
Government and industry scrutiny continues to grow over the revelations about the data of 50 million Facebook accounts being used by Computer Analytica. Consumer concerns also seem to be at an all-time high, resulting in a #deleteFacebook movement to encourage people to quit the world’s largest social media channel. Although Google searches related to deleting Facebook have tripled since the news broke, it remains to be seen how many people will follow through and delete their account. A recent poll of Canadians showed that only 1 in 10 plans to ‘abandon’ Facebook at least temporarily. With all the apparent outrage, why are so few likely to quit?
Much has been written in the past few years about the addictive nature of social media. Technology designers leverage our psychological vulnerabilities to grab our attention and hold it for as long as possible. So, it’s not surprising that many people find it difficult to break free from Facebook, even with...
A local coffee shop has been getting a lot of attention due to their recently imposed weekend laptop ban. The owner cites two reasons for such severe measures. The first being a lack of seating for patrons during their busiest days, which results in lost revenue for the cafe. The second being the antisocial environment created by a room full of individuals wearing headsets and staring at screens for hours at a time. In addition to the ban, the cafe is also limiting use of their Wi-Fi to a half-hour per customer per purchase. Not surprisingly, these changes are receiving mixed reviews from customers.
Restaurants and cafes have been navigating the positives and negatives of our growing digital connectivity for a number of years. On the one hand, the popularity of sharing food and décor photos on social media has helped many establishments grow their business. However, the realities of our device-obsessed culture has also impacted the experience of customers and staff alike in a...
There’s been so much written in the past year about how much time we are spending online. There’s also been a ton written about how unhealthy it is and how important it is for us to cut back on our screen time.
But, for all the evidence and discussion, many people still aren’t making any changes. For those who want to do something about their screen time but don’t know where to start, I have some thoughts to share based on my own journey.
There are three essential things I think are required if you seriously want to reduce your time online.
1. Identify Your ‘Why’
In order to change behavior, it’s key to have a motivating reason. For me, it was because of books.
I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. I love getting lost in stories and, although it’s not always easy to find the time, there’s nothing I love more than spending an hour or more with a book.
A few Christmases ago, I sat down...
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