No Notifications

I got my peace of mind. In the age of white noise, everyone needs to know how to find their peace.

Here are the actions I took in last month to maintain my sanity

 

1) Stop the incoming notifications –

a) Don’t take unscheduled calls and meeting requests.
Scene – A colleague needs to release his frustrations, he Whatsapp’s you. You spend half and hour talking to him, to make him feel better. The consequence, is you miss out on a timely deliverable which you agreed. The client gets furious, as she has paid you upfront. You apologise and throw in some freebies.

WhatsApp is the deadliest tool of all social tools. Please mute for all notifications. I did, and I am much happier. This is not foolproof because when you need to check a important message and see 2/3 frantic messages from your friends. You are going to ne tempted to read them.

I dislike to use WhatsApp for business, but after many years, I installed it. Every client requests for a WhatsApp number. It has become the replacement for Fax. There is no other ubiquitous tool and some people who came on the internet after 2005 think WhatsApp is the email.

Enough Ranting on whatsapp. 

 

b) Macbook –
My macbook is my place of worship, I make serious shit here, like writing this blogpost, which I decided to finish in an hour. Writing takes 30 minutes and editing takes another 45 minutes. But I will cheat on the editing time.

Macbook has a handoff feature where you see your Ios notifications plus your apps and browser notifications. Which add to the distraction to work. First thing you do is toggle to DND mode.

This is not adequate since you might still accidently go to Facebook or twitter. This could be taken care with Freedom and Cold Turkey apps. They block these websites, which might make me loose focus.

c) Three Tasks per day.
I use Focuster app to focus on one task at a time. The concept of focuster is that you can do to the best of your ability 3 task every day. In Focuster, you can list and schedule these three task and make sure, you finish them. This idea has made me
immensely productive.

d) Ipad –
Never use multi-screen when you are working. Hide your Ipad when you are on the mac. But if you do lighter tasks on the Ipad. You need to to mute all the notification. I have muted all notification except the one’s in the notification center.

Freedom app can block all your websites, and can make you go hysterical, so I suggest you go slow, and build a separate block lists as per your priority.

e) Iphone –
I make it a point to avoid all unscheduled calls. Even if its the most trivial of conversation, I use one of my AI scheduling assistant like Amy or Cortana to set up a time for the call. This works 90% of the time. Pre-digital generation has trouble accepting this protocol. One of my friend in his 70’s, felt hurt when I told him, that you need to take an appointment to speak.

2) Psychology of Focus –

 


a) We get stressed when the INPUT > OUTPUT.

When the amount of work is more, then the input is greater than the output. You will get stressed. We need to deliver quality work, and one cannot do over 3 or 5 tasks per day. But our todo list which goes in the 20’s. There are also demands from Bosses and colleagues.

b) Prioritise –
This is where prioritisation kicks in. We rationalise how much we can deliver every day. I fixed mine at 3 fantastic jobs per day. You can do maybe 5. I am talking about work which needs skill and energy, not tasks like tele-calling. I am speaking about serious managerial work.

c) Put your foot down –
You choose what you can do. One cannot manage the input, but can sure control the output of your work, right? Ignore all pressures from anyone to deliver, you are accountable to yourself and no one else.

North Star, mind maps and outlining.

GOALS

Too many plans can be great, but without an accurate road map, you will get lost in the black hole of your brain. To achieve your plans start by thinking about your GOAL. Your personal life is connected to your professional life. You need to decide A GOAL for your personal life and professional life. Just one GOAL, remember you cannot be a Rock musician and noble prize winning scientist.

The most intelligent people simplify their life. I am getting intelligent; since I came across the metaphor of the North Star.

NORTH STAR

North Star ⭐️ is the brightest star in the sky. Thanks to the North Star ships found their way home before satellite navigation and other advanced technologies.

Your North Star is your brightest GOAL. Rest of the stars are shining and distracting you from focussing on your North Star. Plans are based on what your Goal is. The most important question to ask yourself is “What is my brightest star?”.

PLANNING TOOLS

Now you have figured out what your Goal is. You draw your plan. If you don’t have the focussing ability and prone to distraction. I suggest 2 tools to plan for your goal.

1) Outlining
2) Mind maps.

Check the video below – I am using a software, but you can use a paper. In fact, I am informed that doing things on paper leads to more creativity to your imagination.

 

What is your North Star?

I saw a video of Alex Schultz who heads growth and analytics for Facebook talk about metrics and growth. He uses the analogy of a North Star. The founder of the startup steers the ship and should know the directions.

To sum up – The North Star is the most critical metric you should measure.

Various Metrics

The metric which is most valuable to your startup is contextual to your business. I have several metrics going on in my hyper-local venture. There is the most important one which is how much money the business makes? Data points are spread across social media, the various websites, support requests, advertising enquiry forms, etc. The metrics on Google analytics and social media can itself be very difficult to analyse.

My North Star Metric – Inbound Leads

I will measure the number of inbound leads I get from all platforms. i.e. 1) Social media 2) Website 3) Telephone calls 4) Referrals etc. Increasing this metric means I don’t need to spend time and efforts on marketing, sales and advertising. This would create a direct impact to the business volume growth. Once I measure and test where I am getting most of my leads, I would work backwards and try to make the process of these inbound leads generation smoother. These inbound leads are easier to measure, than the other metrics like social media engagements, content analysis, etc.

I have found my North Star, What’s your’s? 

A note on my first BYOB (Bring your own book) meet up.

After a long time, I enjoyed being in the same room (or terrace) with a bunch of people. On the verge of becoming a sociopath, I avoid meeting people in big groups but was quite relieved that I can stand or sit with strangers and enjoy myself.

Meeting the right kind of people in Mumbai is quite impossible nowadays. Most are too busy working on weekdays and spending time with their family on weekends.

The event at peacock store, which is about 3 minutes from my house. To be very honest I was more curious about the store than the event. However, I felt a few bibliophiles can’t do much damage, so I went along.

The event was well attended, and the venue ran out of chairs. Sitting right to me was an IIT researcher from Bangalore who is now in Powai a very soft-spoken and a sci-fi fan. The person on the left was from Goa and also into sci-fi. A little further to left was a guy from thane, who said he doesn’t read Indian authors, but hasn’t really figured out why.

Everyone was supposed to talk about the one or two books they were reading or recently read. What I realised was most of them were shy and spoke so softly that I could barely hear them. Additionally, the people said sorry to many times for any discomfort they might have caused.

I wondered why a lady who had a strong demeanor was so much into reading tragedy. I was a bit apprehensive that I would be judged for reading Indian authors like Kiran Nagarkar, but most of them were very positive. Jerry pinto seemed a favorite among Indian authors in this meet. People were raving about “Cobalt blue”.

Among the foreign authors, a couple of them were reading or read Neil Gaiman, but no one really liked his work. It seems he is popular, so he gets read.

Sci-fi author called Alan Moore, who I haven’t read at all seemed to be also very popular.

Anyway, that’s all I remember about my first BYOB meet.

 

Jen Beek / 500px

Could less sleep make you more productive?

Unsplash / Pexels

Yesterday I worked for 36 hours continuously with intermittent naps in between. I was so worked up, that I could doze of for like 20 minutes, get up and again start working. I never felt this driven.

Today morning after almost an 8.5-hour sleep, I feel driven to distraction, while writing this post I cannot focus. There is so much energy in me today, that I feel like making calls, replying to my social media feed and doing some other work instantaneously.

The feeling after a good night sleep is that I can conquer the world, but I cannot do it, because I am too distracted and don’t know where to begin.

In contrast, yesterday in a sleep-deprived state, I was so in the flow and focused on what I am doing, that I wouldn’t even bother if the house was on fire.

Earlier people would brag about working prolonged hours and being sleep deprived. I am not bragging about my lengthy hours; I am just pointing to that wonderful focused work zone where we all want to be in.

The new-age wisdom, stresses on having a good night sleep, the great Ariana Huffington has written a book on sleep deprivation.

I am not recommending you deprive yourself of sleep especially if you are into driving or doing manual work like using a machine. However, if you are a desk worker who can snatch a few winks, do try to deprive yourself and see if it helps you focus.

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