I have a four-year-old son who doesn’t understand the concept of commercial television. Honestly, I don’t know if he understands the concept of television with programming. Chances are he’ll never experience it and will never need to know what it is.
Why can’t I watch my show now?
The only thing my son understands is that there are various screens in our house (TV, iPad, computer, mobile phone) and he wants to watch videos on them. The idea that something isn’t available right now and you have to wait until a certain time on a certain day to watch it has never been explained to him. I don’t think he’s ever watched live programming. For sports, I usually start recording and watching on slight time delay. When I fast forward he asks me what I’m doing. I explain I’m zipping through commercials, but he’s never seen them so he doesn’t know why I’m zipping through anything.
The Internet is awash with productivity tips or “life hacks.” Most of the advice I’ve seen focuses on making significant changes in your daily patterns. Search and you’ll see endless “tips” about getting enough rest, setting up a routine, meditating, reserving 20 percent of your day for creative thinking, and my personal favorite – don’t answer you phone or check your email before 1pm.
All of that advice sounds fantastic if I had endless hours and willpower. Not check my email until 1pm? Every morning I pee and then check my email. My wife would like it if I would get out of bed first.
Improving productivity can be about improving yourself as a person or strengthening your willpower. Or it can be about deploying time-shaving tactics that don’t require you to change as a person. Why not focus on those little actions that eat up the seconds, minutes, or hours of your time?
Most of us unfortunately suffer from the “death by 1,000 paper cuts” phenomenon. We do multiple actions in any one day, and if you isolate any one of them, the time wasted is no big deal, but in aggregate they’re a main drain on productivity.
Here’s some very doable advice that I heed myself. I promise none of the tips require you to set aside one hour every day to meditate.
1: Turn off alerts
This is the simplest move you can take right now that will dramatically improve your productivity. Mobile apps are desperate for constant use. In an effort to remind you they’re still installed on your phone, most apps turn on alerts by default the moment they’re installed. App manufacturers don’t give a rat’s ass about your productivity. They just want constant use, which makes them relevant and increases their value to potential buyers. Unless the alert is a real-time personal notification, such as a text or instant message, turn it off.