Time management and life organisation has been a passion project of mine for more than two decades now. I have enjoyed trying out various systems including Franklin-Covey, Getting Things Done, simple dated task lists, and various versions of a prioritisation matrix. None of them have really dealt with issue of distraction and information overload which didn't really exist the days these were created or certainly not to the extent that we experience them nowadays.
There are many videos and blog posts of people that have quit social media for 6 months or a year and come back to tell us of their experiences away and back. While walking the dog, stirring the dinner on the stove or any other small moment in the day, people are often glued to their phones thinking they are catching up with their friends but really seeking that small dopamine high. It has gotten to the point where we are never truly alone with just your own brain, your own thoughts, your own reflections. This has arguably lead to various mental health issues and anxiety problems exacerbated by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Without alone time or boredom, people's creativity can never really take off as it is impossible to create and consume at the same time. It is equally very difficult to be creative with distractions going on your own or others devices (including notifications from systems such as email). What is needed for reflection, journaling and all creative work is a state of deep work.
Deep work is professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. - Cal Newport, Deep Work
Steps to eliminate information overflow and create distraction-free flow
In days gone by without the internet, information was hard-sought for a purpose, whereas these days we are flooded with information that we are not seeking. The solution to banishing your own information overload is to decide what information you are seeking, reduce or eliminate the excess and reinstate solo reflection time.
- Start with the end in mind
- Reduce information intake to the essential
- Finish every work session with a clear deliverable
- Use time blocking and have routines
- Have distraction-free deep work time
- Use a timed work and rest session technique
- Use a morning and evening journal
My favourite things this week
- Messages throughout the week of "you don't have to have the whole thing planned out", "done is better than good" and "successful people take action first and then calibrate and refine it later" coming from Tiago Forte, Elizabeth Gilbert and MJ DeMarco respectively all pointing to just create something and put it out there.
- A TEDx talk on the importance of journaling for those with ADHD such as how it keeps the overwhelm at bay, and allows for visualising and prioritising thoughts and ideas.
- The TEDx talk on absolutely nothing, perfectly demonstrating the structure, voice tone, body language, and visuals of an impactful TED-style of presentation.
Quote for the week
I always call perfectionism fear in high heeled shoes, because it’s fancy. It’s like a really fancy haute couture version of fear because perfectionism can advertise itself as a virtue and it can trick you into letting it think that it makes you special. — Elizabeth Gilbert
Articles this week
Belinda Allan is an education advisor who is dedicated to empowering lifelong learners. By exploring the intersection of technology, personal development and learning futures, Belinda uses her expertise in education, IT and AI to guide individuals in creating the course or training program of their dreams. With a focus on how AI can drive productivity and well-being in the ever-changing landscape of education and work, Belinda will help you unlock your full potential.
Sign up for the Learning Lounge newsletter and gain access to expert insights and strategies from Belinda Allan, an education advisor dedicated to empowering lifelong learners and helping them reach their full potential through AI and personal development.