Are you Making Use of Your Weird Windows of Time?

How many times a day do you interact with your phone?

Statistically in the region of 2000+, resulting in over 150 mobile sessions and over 200 minutes of screen time (thats over 3hrs)

On how many occasions have you used your lack of time as an excuse not to do something?

Read that book, learn that new skill, go the gym, the list goes on …

When your waiting for the bus, train, taxi, wife to get ready, friend to show up, what is the first thing you instinctively do?

The answer – pick up your phone and open your favourite social media app, to endlessly scroll though all the things other people are doing. (statistically at least)

What should you do in these weird windows of time instead?

Use it to learn and grow. Instead of mindlessly scrolling though Facebook on your commute to work why don’t you pick up a book instead. Learn a new skill (if you are that connected to your phone download a learning app, a language app for example). Use the time to plan your day and decide on the top tasks you really need to complete to move closer to a goal. You could even go crazy and start writing on Medium.

I tried this for a couple of weeks and now I’m hooked on reading, so much so I was recently bought a Kindle. Which totally off topic is possible my most favourite toy of all time. Why? Because it does nothing but let me read, no notifications, distractions or wifi needed. It is light weight and I can have numerous books on the go at the same time. But I digress.

You will be surprised at how much you really can do in all the random windows of time that life presents. If you can spend 3hrs a day on your phone, just think in 6 months what you could achieve if you used this time more productively and with a purpose.

You could go one step further with this and actually plan tasks into this time, so any tasks you label with commute you do on the train (for example). That way you become more aware of these windows of time and are actively changing your behaviours to benefit from them instead of scrolling them away.

Multi Tasking — The Best Way to F’Up Multiple Things at Once

So you get up early, you follow your morning routine set out by the insane amount of articles you have read on how to start your day THE most productive way.

You drink your water
You Meditate
You get in you hour of exercise, the list goes on…

You have your day all planned out, between your task manager and your calendar you are all set.

Then you go and balls it all up by thinking you can take on more and do three things at once.

Everyone has done it including me, so I’m no better. I was always of the opinion if tasks are similar or can flow side by side then why not bundle them together, the problem is the time you take to switch from one task to the other and back again is actually more draining than you think. If you block out say an hour for task X and in the midst of the work you think I could do task Y here too. You are not saving your self any time.

You start work on task X, say 15 mins in you start on task Y, your mind is already wondering now statistically its going to take you approx 20 mins to get your mind refocused on task X. So if you do the math, your likely to be 35 mins in to task X for around 20 mins of productive work, and all you have do is glanced at task Y to asses the amount of work needed to complete it, or how you are going to integrate it into task X.

If you had focused solely on task X, you would be over half way through your allotted time and have your task more than half completed.
Now if you swap from task X to task Y more than 3 times thats over an hour of time you have spend trying to refocus on the single task you originally only time blocked an hour to finish.
So your no further along, in fact you are now behind, both tasks are incomplete and your schedule for the day is pushing you to more on to the next job.

Still think you are a multi tasking machine?

There are exceptions to this rule, like every rule I guess but they are few and far between.
Even on the days when you are jumping from meeting to meeting juggling various different topics and making decisions based on the information in front of you, there are still countless occasions where you still have to go deep with your focus to accomplish your desired goal.

What you need to be able to do is limit (better yet remove) any possible distractions and deep dive into that project or task and just get it done. There are countless benefits to this both physically and psychologically.

Physically >
The Job is done (or at the very least moved in the right direction and is one step closer to completion)
It is less stressful and labour intensive

Psychologically >
You get the ever satisfying endorphin of removing that task from your todo list
You no longer have that nagging feeling of an incomplete task in the back of your head
The stress of moving a job forward has been removed
the list goes on …

So next time you think multi tasking will get more done in less time… think again

Your Input Controls Your Output

I was sat trying to come up with a really catchy title for this post, some kind of play on words maybe, a sarcastic take on what sounds like a boring nerdy, logically phrase.

Until I realised it pretty much is what it is, those 5 words are probably the truest, most logical and in a strange way, most inspiring words I could write.

“ Your Input Controls Your Output “

This can be applied to any given situation, any goal, dream, aspiration or challenge.

In the case of positive input, you, your kids and your family can achieve anything they want.

You have heard people say you get out what you put in? Yes?

You have a goal

I want to be a better version of me (this is a little vague, so hopefully you can be more specific)

* A Better Parent
* More Spiritual
* Have more structure in your day to enhance your focus etc
* A Diet
* A Marathon
* A Tough Mudder

Then only buy controlling your input can you achieve the desired output. But, how do you do this I hear you ask. Well that comes from making small but significant changes over a given period of time. I’m going to use a Marathon as an example, a few years back I was close to 16st and the only exercise I got was walking the fridge.

I started small with a couple of PT sessions in my house, upgraded to the gym, then started running outdoors. I made small changes to my diet along the way and started to read up on diet and nutrition.

After 16 weeks I had lost over 4 stone, reduced my waist size by over 6 inches and had ran my 1st half marathon.
Hell Runner

My runs started at 2 miles, then 5 mile, 7 mile, then added at least a mile a week for the remaining weeks. Small increments, steady pace, consistent training. To date I have ran 6 Tough Mudders, 1 Hell Run, I ran up Snowdon in 1hr 24 mins, (The Largest Mountain in Wales) and I have ran 3 full Marathons.

How have I done this, by controlling what goes in to my mind and my body. Through small changes that make a big difference over time. The logic can be used for anything. One change ignites the desire for another, and another and so on.

The desire spreads as soon as you see results and you feel your mind and body changing. Your body changes because of the training and the diet, your mind will change as soon as you start to feel difference in your mood and emotions. There is an unexplained buzz that comes from physical exercise that you get from nowhere else.

Don’t believe me, make the changes you keep telling yourself you want to and see what happens.

Is it hard work? Hell Yes!
Will it hurt? Probably!
Will you be a better person at the end of it! Guaran-dam-tee it!

I pride myself on being a good example to my kids, I show them that if they work hard they can achieve anything they want but this doesn’t come without sacrifice and commitment. They know I get up at 4 am to workout, they know I sometimes have to work long hours in the office. They also know that when I am with them they are my 100% focus, we play outside, run, cycle and play football together. We paint, play board games and video games together, and every week we have a ‘cheat meal’ tea and watch a movie. Together as a family.

My ‘input’ my ‘why’, the reason I workout to feel good and work hard to earn money is to prove for them and so the time we spend together is the best it possible can be.

Now its your turn, comment below with your ‘input’ your ‘why’ and let us know how you stay focused and committed to your goals.