As a freelance marketer, yoga instructor, Air BnB hostess, intrepid networker, avid learner, friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, human, it can be difficult to find space to be…me! And I know I’m not the only one. We all possess the phones, laptops and calendars that become battle grounds for our attention. Not to mention the real living people and our own bodies that need our care and attention. While taking a few days out to visit family, and realising that the urge to throw my phone in the nearest loch was getting overwhelming, I set out to make some space for me. For freedom, for creativity. For my sanity.
With my email count reaching ever higher, I realised I was craving some independence. Perhaps you also feel pulled in many directions by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter notifications. Cajoled into opening another tab by a well written email, you feel let down when you learn little from it. If anything. So to this end, let’s make some space.
The email checking habit
If your an learning junkie like me, and can’t resist signing up to newsletters for the freebie and the latest advise on your area of interest, you may find yourself constantly distracted by the arrival of said emails. Well respond to the ‘ping!’ no more, by signing up to Unroll.me. This free app neatly identifies all the newsletters in your email and offers to roll them up into one email, which is delivered once a day at the time of your choosing. While also encouraging you to unsubscribe from newsletters that you had forgotten about, this app neatly takes away a huge amount of distraction, while still giving you the information that you don’t want to miss.
A bonus of the roll up email is realising how repetitive the content of these emails can be. This has encouraged me to unsubscribe to more and more newsletters over time as I weed out those that offer real value to me.
The phone scrolling habit
Another black hole of many a person’s day is time spent online, on your phone. By making accessing social media so easy, you are positively encouraged to check in to an app and check out of your day. To escape this trap, turn off your notifications. Or at least edit them so it is only when someone expressly tries to contact you that you are notified. After this, hide your apps. Take any potential time sucker off your home screen completely. Make it is as easy as possible to ween yourself off the phone checking habit and stick to it! Here’s a great article on this at Startup.com – although it is targeted at IPhone users it is still useful.
The podcast white noise habit
A surprise area for a clear out for me was my podcast feed. I realised that I was listening to so many, I often couldn’t remember any of the content. Which makes listening to gain knowledge pretty useless. I also noticed if I put my player on random, the tone and subject matter of the podcast could really take me off course from my goals. If you’re feeling good about money, don’t let an episode on debt avoidance fall into your playlist. If things are going well for you, the likelihood is they will continue to go well if you feel good about it. 30 minutes of fear mongering about your bank balance going straight into your brain is likely to disturb your equilibrium and create worry. Worry turns to stress which turns to indecisiveness and a lack of competence…and your finances flounder. Be aware of your state and your needs, and consciously select and delete podcast episodes accordingly.
Now, with all that empty space…
When was the last time you lay on the grass and soaked in the sun, without your phone in easy reach? The last time you got your creative on and painted for pleasure? Read 6 books in a month? Thanks in part to these tips (and a chronic desperation for freedom) I can say yes to these questions. I feel a little freer. A bit more creative (first blog in 3 months anyone?!) and definitely saner!
How are you creating space for fun and creativity? I’d love to hear any tips you have to share!
Big thanks to Tracey Minutolo for bringing Unroll.me and the phone article to my attention – check out her fantastic coaching services at www.TraceyMinutolo.com!