This opening paragraph was supposed be a generic observation about how this world is in a constant hurry, how we’re in a hurry, how we’re hurrying to keep up with the constantly hurrying world and that we need methods to distance ourselves from things we shouldn’t care about.
But I decided against that paragraph. If we were to distance ourselves from everything that doesn’t matter, I’d have to just write about money and chocolate all the time, because they are the only truly important things in life. So let’s just jump straight into today’s topic. Read it, tell me if you agree and then go back to living your life just like you have before. One list is not enough to change one’s life.
1. Don’t call people back, don’t listen to your voicemail. Put your phone on mute.
Do you constantly find yourself rushing to pick up your phone? Do you panic when you leave it at home? Do you think you need to answer every call in case it’s important?
It usually isn’t. You’re probably not missing out on anything important. And if the person calling you has some important information, I’m sure they’ll try to reach you again.
My phone is on silent for most of the day. I don’t listen to my voicemail. And after 10 p.m. I put my phone on the “do not disturb” mode, because I believe that there’s no such thing as a conversation that can’t wait ‘till the morning.
2. Say “no” to notifications.
Silencing my phone made me realize that I don’t need to be notified about incoming text messages and emails. I found out that I can disable push notifications from all apps and still survive through the day. Sometimes, I allow the messenger to notify me about new messages. The only app that’s always allowed to send me notifications is OmniFocus, which shows me my daily itinerary every day at 9 a.m.
3. Mark as read. Respond later.
I treat Facebook messages like I treat my emails. I don’t feel the obligation to respond immediately. Sometimes, people see that you’ve read their message and demand that you respond. When that happens, I usually don’t respond for a longer period than I was planning to. Even up to 3 weeks.
4. Don’t ask. Decide.
It’s one of the few good pieces of advice I read in a book written by Tim Ferriss (the ‘4-hour Workweek’ guy). I started limiting the amount of questions I ask. I try to limit the discussion to a single email or phone call. If somebody wants to have a meeting, I try not to give him the option to exchange a few emails with me to get the details in order. I put him on the spot and tell him I’m free on this date at that hour, so let’s meet then to discuss this and that.
I don’t do small talk. You either have a certain agenda to discuss or I don’t have time for you.
5. Inbox: zero.
The best way to keep your inbox clean. Delete all emails you’ve responded to. That way you’ll develop the urge to have a ‘clean’ inbox. If you receive a lot of emails, you might want to start being more selective.
– automatically deleting emails that contain offensive language
– disregarding trolls, meaning people who are just trying to get your attention (see above)
– not responding to anonymous emails
– saving long emails for later (a long email = over 10 sentences)
I check my inbox regularly but I only respond to emails once a day.
8.Thirty minutes after waking up.
I read somewhere that if you feel the urge to smoke a cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up, that means you’re addicted. I applied that to my internet use. Nowadays, I try not to go online for the first 30 minutes after opening my eyes. It really does wonders to my morning mood.
9. Everything can wait
I love putting stuff off to do later and I don’t see what’s so bad about that. If you don’t feel like doing something right now, but you can do it tomorrow, what’s the problem? Do it tomorrow! Only stick to the schedule if it’s something super important (weddings, funerals and such.) These events are rare, anyway. 99% of your everyday tasks are just nonsense you don’t need to take care of. Long live the holidays.