Ordering My Digital World pt. 1 – Distractions

It’s so easy to get distracted by all the digital noise around us that we can lose sight of what we need to be doing.  And by writing this post I may be adding to the digital noise.  But I hope to be a help.

Watch this video from Pastor Josh Harris:

When I watched this I was in a place where I knew that I needed to change my interaction with technology or it would continue to dominate my schedule and hinder me from getting things done that I need to get done.  So I’ve been taking some steps to help organize my digital world.

Step 1) Twitter

Instead of getting on Facebook to update my status and then getting sucked into status updates, new pictures, people surveys, pillow fights, etc.  I decided to be active in Facebook without needing to use Facebook all the time.  That solution for me is twitter.  I can updated my status from my phone and twitter is connected to my Facebook profile so it looks like I’m on there and using it but I’m not.  I do hop on Facebook.com from time to time but this little work around has been a huge time saver for me.

Step 2) Email Hours

Usually I keep my email open all day, and when a new message comes in I check it and reply instantly.  I have been trained like a rat with cheese to get that immediate gratification of pushing the button to get more cheese.  It’s insane.  But I’ve also realized that I’m not very good at responding to email when I have it open all day.  I just tell myself that I’ll get to that email later.

My hope is that by making my email checking intentional I will actually answer email and I won’t be distracted by every message that passes my inbox.  We will see.

I also send out an auto response to people saying, basically, thanks for sending me your email.  I’m going to answer it at either 8am, 11am or 3pm.  So that gives me a little bit of accountability as to when people should expect a response from me.  I think this will help me quite a bit.

Ideally, I would like to check my email once a day.  I’m stealing this idea from Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week.

Step 3) Blog Checking Hours

I follow about 95 blogs in Google Reader.  I don’t read that many blogs every day but I at least scan through them.  Blogs have been a valuable resource for me.  I can get news, ideas, and inspiration from leaders and and thinkers around the world.  So I’m going to limit my blog reading to 8:30-9:00 am and 8:30-4:00 pm.

My hope is that all of these little things will help me to eliminate distractions and help me to get things done.

What ways do you order your digital world?

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