Many people blame technology for being unproductive, and for making us impatient, however ultimately it’s the way we use (or abuse) technology that creates the negative impact. If you want to use technology in alignment with your goals, you need to make a conscious choice to:
- Use it intentionally and mindfully to improve your productivity, increase inspiration and accelerate our goals, or
- Allow the in-built distractions of technology and the lure of instant gratification control how we use it
When we are clear on our goals, and what we value, and we set our intentions we’re able to use technology in a way that will help accelerate our career and personal goals.
In this episode of The Females in Tech Show we cover:
- Why technology isn’t to blame for decreased productivity (04:04)
- Statistics on how much time we spend on our phones and social media (05:16)
- The science of why we’re addicted to technology (10:10)
- The negative impact technology has on our productivity (15:05)
- 3 steps on how to use technology to achieve your goals (20:13)
- How to remove distractions from your devices (25:26)
- What you can start doing today to use technology in alignment with your goals (29:42)
- And so much more
- Tom Cronin: Meditation Coach
- The Portal Movie and Book
- Phone statistics
- Social media statistics
- Dr Demartini, highest priority actions
- Flo App
- Keep It Cleaner App
- JSHealth App
- Insight Timer App
- Down Dog App
- View a full transcript of the podcast at the bottom of the page, or download a PDF version here.
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Tamara: Hey, handsome. Welcome back to the Females In Tech Show.
Joel: Hello, beautiful. I’m going to get in first and ask you, what are three things that you’re grateful for today?
Tamara: Oh, I’m going first now, am I?
Tamara: Okay. So the first thing that I’m really grateful for today is today’s topic, which was submitted by, @thatcodingyogi. It’s something that really affects us all, so I’m really, really looking forward to discussing it with you today.
The second thing that I am grateful for this morning is we had such a beautiful morning. We woke up at 5:45 AM.
Tamara: And had a little bit of a sleep in, but woke up at 5:45 AM and went for a beautiful walk along Manly Beach and watched the sunrise. It was so, so, so beautiful. And then we went to the gym and had a really, really good workout, and came back. I hate to say it again, but our breakfast was so good. I honestly don’t think I will ever get sick of it.
And the third thing being that we are going to Cirque du Soleil tonight, and I am so excited to take you. For those who don’t know me, I was actually in the circus for eight years prior to my career, well, long career journey. So it’s really, really special that I can take you to Cirque du Soleil tonight.
Joel: Yeah, I can’t wait. So my gratitude for today, so first was actually that we were both working from home yesterday, so it was just really great when we worked from home on a Friday together even though we’re both busy working and being very productive, it just feels like we’ve had a bit of a long weekend because we get extra time together. So, I’m really grateful that we had that extra time together yesterday.
And the second thing is that we watched a documentary last night called, Game Changers and it is actually a bit of a game changer, but it was all around the benefits of plant-based diet, or as my son would say, “I’m vegan”, and debunk some of the myths, or fallacies, of the whole story around meat-based protein. It was really, really interesting.
And I think you can spin stats in different ways, but intuitively it feels right, and there were some things that they talked about just in terms of our teeth that suggests that actually we do, we are geared… Humans are geared for eating plants, so that was really, really interesting. I’m grateful for that.
And the third thing is similar to yours, that’s why I wanted you to go first, was the sunset, specifically this morning.
Joel: Sunrise, sorry. Thank you. It was beautiful to be out there this morning and see the sun come up, or really the colour and just being out that early in the morning and seeing people on the beach. We’re really grateful for that 30 minutes we had this morning before we went to the gym, so grateful.
Tamara: Yeah, it was really beautiful to see so many people out this morning exercise, going for a swim, watching the sunrise. It was a really nice vibe. I really enjoyed it.
Joel: Yeah, it was great. So, what are we talking about today?
Tamara: Well thanks again, @thatcodingyogi for submitting this topic.
And on that note, if anyone does want to submit a topic, they can do by going to www.fiitcollective.com/topic. And fit has two (i)s in it, so F-I-I-T collective.com/topic. If you want Joel and I to discuss a particular topic around tech, or wellbeing, or balance, yeah, so you can submit it there. But today we are talking about how to use tech in alignment with your goals and specifically talking around your phone, your mobile phone and social media.
Joel: In fact, I think it was a broader question that was submitted. We’ve broken it down into two. We’re doing this first piece today and we’ll do the other piece a bit later on. So, it’s a great, really great topic.
Tamara: Yeah, it’s huge, which is why we did break it into two.
Tamara: I think the first thing to acknowledge is technology is a tool and it’s how we’re using it, which is the underlying issue. A lot of people blame technology for being unproductive or impatient, but whilst technology is partly to blame, we, as users, have a lot of control in how that impacts us.
We do have a conscious choice to use it mindfully to help boost our productivity, our inspiration, and accelerate our goals, or allow instant gratification and dopamine to control the way that we use technology.
So it’s really all about setting intention, being consciously aware and understanding what your core values and goals are. And then therefore, be able to use that technology that will help accelerate your goals in your career and your values and things like that.
Joel: Yeah, absolutely. I think that like with everything there is a positive and a negative to it. There are so many benefits to technology, but yes, there is some downsides. It is about having a balanced view and ultimately, that as you say, that comes back to being more mindful and intentional around how you use it.
Joel: Actually, I’ve got some stats if you’d like to start with those?
Tamara: Of course, you do.
Joel: Surprise, surprise. I think probably to set the scene as far as what’s the problem, or when we talk in terms of the negative side of technology in our personal use. I’ve got some stats, firstly around phone use, and then secondly around social media, which obviously there is a bit of overlap there.
But if I talk first around phone use, and these stats are from Rescue Time App published in March 2019, so these are relatively recent.
The average you use for a person on their phone is three hours and 15 minutes a day. And the top 20% of people would be spending four and a half hours a day. When you talk about the benefits, while there is lots of benefits to actually being on your phone that much, so whether that’s making calls, whether you’re contacting people or responding to people through different channels, whether you’re publishing content, there is lots of positives around how you can use your phone and therefore, it’s a productivity tool.
Tamara: Yeah, I can see how people can use that even just using apps for workouts and things like that.
Tamara: That sort of makes sense in my eyes.
Joel: Yeah. But obviously if you’re spending, if a large chunk of that is more on distractions and social media and endless scrolling and things, then that’s not a great thing. So that’s where the time, it depends how you’re using it.
But this is where it gets a little bit scary. Most people check their phone 58 times a day. In and of itself, that’s okay. But then you go, the average time that they’re spending when they check their phone is one minute and fifteen seconds.
Joel: 50% of those sessions are within three minutes of each other. And that’s where you start going, right, that’s a really big distraction.
I can see how that happens. If somebody texts you, and then you text them back, and they’ll text you back, whether that’s with instant messenger or social media, you get that backwards and forwards, and it’s distracting. And I think that, that’s where you start going, wow, that’s not great.
Tamara: Yeah, yeah.
Joel: Then the second part is around social media. These stats would be for both phone and desktop.
Joel: So not exclusive to phone. But the average person spends a 153 minutes on social media a day, or two and a half hours.
Joel: Yeah. And when you break that down by some of the bigger platforms, so for Facebook, that’s 58 minutes a day, YouTube is 40 minutes a day, Instagram, 53 minutes a day, Snapchat, 49 minutes.
Joel: So that’s, yeah, a lot of time on social media both individually, but collectively. If you’re publishing content or you’re seeking stuff that’s inspiring, there are benefits around that. But it’s also clearly people get stuck scrolling and endlessly going through things, so that’s the downside. But this will really freak you out.
Joel: When you add all of that up, the stats are saying that the average person in their lifetime spends six years and eight months on social media.
Tamara: No way.
Tamara: That honestly makes me feel a bit sick.
Joel: Yeah, it’s frightening, isn’t it?
Tamara: Imagine what you could do in six years?
Joel: I know. I’m pretty sure at the end of your life you’re not thinking, “Oh, I wish I had spent more time on social media.”
Tamara: Wow! Okay. That’s a bit shocking.
Joel: Yeah. Just before we move on, it was interesting when we went to see the movie, The Portal a week and a half ago, our meditation coach and mentor and friend, Tom Cronin was co-producer of this movie called, The Portal, and it’s all around mindfulness and meditation really. And we went to the premiere in Sydney, which involved a Q&A session with Tom and the director, the other co-creator and director, Jackie who was also there. They did a Q&A session at the end of the movie. And the first question that was asked was, “You know that some of the biggest businesses in the world are designed based on this premise of distraction.” It was a bit of a negative thing like, how can we beat these guys type thing?
And Tom’s response was, “Look, there is lots of… Like we’re saying there is positives and negatives. There is the fact that everyone here in the cinema were there really because of technology and social media.” That’s how he has been growing the following for the event and it’s really a ground up community-based feel. The people that are attending the premiere were there primarily because of technology and social media. It’s a great tool and there is lots of benefits around that. But yeah, like we’re saying, you need to be mindful around it.
Tamara: Yeah, particularly how you use it. But it really makes sense why and how people can get so addicted to technology. And we’ve discussed a little bit about this in the past few episodes, but it’s really about the effect of dopamine and what that has on the body.
Dopamine is essentially a neurochemical created in various parts of the brain and it’s really critical in all sorts of brain functions. So these are things like thinking and moving and sleeping, your mood, your attention span, your motivation when you’re seeking and then reward.
And what dopamine does is it increases your general level of arousal and your goal directed behaviour through things like want, and seek, and desire and search. Because dopamine is giving us the desire to seek and be rewarded is where the issue of instant gratification really comes in. And what I mean by instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay. Basically it’s when you want it, you want it now. And that’s a really big thing that our society has. People are more and more less patient and it’s because of this instant gratification and dopamine.
Joel: Well, you get that hit or reward for getting, doing something right now, yeah.
Tamara: Exactly. And with the internet, and social, and texting, instant gratification of your desire to seek is available within the click of a button. You can talk to anyone just by sending a text and they can respond within a few seconds. So how does this really, I guess, negatively affect us when we look at the correlation between dopamine and technology?
What we’ve found is that it gives users a false sense of fulfillment. People really enjoy the rush of their phones vibrating with a new notification because essentially it’s unpredictable, and so you don’t know exactly when these notifications will appear or who they will be from. And it’s so easy to get stuck in this dopamine induced loop.
And what this is, it’s where dopamine kicks in and it starts you seeking and then you get rewarded for seeking, which makes you want to seek more, which is exactly what you were just saying before. And it becomes harder and harder to stop looking at emails, or stop texting, or stop checking your phone to see if you’ve got a new notification.
Now an example of this is through Instagram. I see this all of the time. And it’s through the little love heart that shows how many likes you get and those likes are an inaccurate representation of how many likes you’ve actually received within that time period. I know I could get a hundred likes, but I may have already seen 50 likes the last time I checked my phone. And as a young teenager, this is really all I cared about. I would post photos just to get the likes and I was ultimately addicted.
And this also had to do with the addiction of the dopamine, but I was also really lost, and I didn’t know what my purpose was. And I was studying accounting at university. Although I was really good at it, it wasn’t something that I was passionate about, so the instant gratification from social media was filling the hole or gap that was in my life.
Nowadays, now that I know what my purpose is, it’s so easy for me to not get side-tracked or scroll mindlessly. And these days it’s more about the impact I make in people’s lives, and that’s where I get the most fulfillment from it.
I think we’ll just spend this episode really talking about the difference between the two, and how you can really start to use technology to align it with your goals and your values, and stop using technology as an instant gratification, or a distraction because you actually don’t have that alignment in what you want out of your life.
Joel: Yeah. And I might just add something there, which is that, and again, this is from our coach Tom Cronin when we did the meditation workshop with him over a weekend, but one of the things he talked about was that the mind wants to be busy. When you’re talking about that stuff, you’re not, it’s not being judgemental on people doing those things. It’s actually, it’s human nature. The mind wants to be busy and it’s drawn-in by these distractions.
You know when you do meditate, you still have, there is this misconception that you don’t have any thoughts. You always have thoughts. They’re popping in. But it’s how you deal with those.
The mind wants to naturally fill up that space, which is why when you’re sitting in your car, or you’re standing at the traffic lights, or wherever else you pick up your phone, you just start doing something. The mind wants to be busy, so that’s just the way it is, so don’t feel bad if you are stuck in that space.
Tamara: No, no.
Tamara: And hopefully throughout this episode, we’ll give you some tips in how to be a little bit more conscious and aware.
Joel: If we talk about what the problem was, let’s talk about the impact of what happens when we are distracted by technology.
Firstly, you talked about the fact that you’re constantly picking up your phone, and that there’s that dopamine rush, and seeing the notifications, and you’re getting that buzz. But the flow on effect of that is that you constantly feel like you’re “always on”. Whether that’s for work, but especially actually when you’re building a social profile, you do and you feel like you’ve got to jump in and respond to stuff. You feel like you’re always on.
And that leads into stress, and it also leads to anxiety. So that contributes, I think, to that stress and anxiety.
Joel: That also then flows through into generally being less productive. Whether that’s less productive at work, but also in terms of achieving our personal goals, the goals that we set. If we’ve got those distractions and things happening, then we’re unable to get into that space of really deep work. You’re jumping in, and jumping out, and jumping in, and jumping out, and that context switching has a massive impact on your productivity.
Then there’s a health impact too. When we’re using technology, so whether that’s our phones, but also the computers and desktops, and even sort of TV, they’ve all got this blue light. They emit this blue light that triggers chemicals in your body, which actually is about saying to your body that this… or effectively triggers these daytime hormones. So when you’re working at night, whether you’re on your iPad or a laptop or watching TV, it’s actually, the blue screen, is actually telling your body it’s daytime. Which is why then when you go to sleep or we go to bed, you can’t get to sleep for a while because your body thinks it’s daytime.
Tamara: Is that cortisol that it releases?
Joel: I’m not sure actually, but effectively it’s triggering stuff to say, “Hey, be awake”. That effects obviously the number of hours you can sleep, but also the quality of sleep that you get. And that loops back into your productivity, and your stress and anxiety, and all the rest.
So these things are all individual, but also they’re not mutually exclusive. They sort of compound each other as well.
And then you start looking at what well, it can also then have a negative impact on their personal relationships, because actually we’re not communicating with somebody, we’re spending time on our phone doing whatever. And that’s something we’re really conscious about, particularly when we go out. So there’s times when we’re together and we say, “Okay, we’re working,” and that’s cool. But we also have times when we say, “Right, this is effectively a tech-free time. We’re spending time together.” So there’s an impact there. And that also sort of flies on into reducing the ability to socialize.
Joel: So we’re trying to be social in social media, but we lose the art of actually being social in person, in the real world.
Tamara: Yeah. I can so relate to that. I don’t know if it’s since technology, but I can see the correlation. But I’ve become less and less confident to be able to network at networking events. Unless I know a lot of people in the room, then I do feel confident walking up to people saying hi, and then my personal pitch. Because technology is so easy to just reach out to someone and say hello or hey… If you get turned down, it’s not as big of an impact, but if you’re face-to-face with someone that is terrifying. And I do believe technology has done that to me personally. It’s reduced the level of confidence that I have at those networking events.
Joel: Yep. And look, I think it’s a cultural thing as well. I think about my kids, and having those skills to be able to have a conversation with someone. Actually my son laughs a lot because when we’re out at certain places, and I always say to the other kids that are at the skate park or wherever else, and actually adults that we talk to as well say, “Hi, my name’s Joel, what’s your name?” And he always thinks, oh, yeah. He’s embarrassed because I ask people what their names are. But it’s like dude, we’re trying to have a chat and a conversation.
Tamara: That’s great. You’re leading by example for him.
Joel: And then the last thing I’d say just as far as the impact of that distraction with technology really is around, and you touched on this is, you have a feeling of being unfulfilled. So, or there’s a fake feeling of having some fulfillment, but actually it doesn’t last. And there’s a quote from Dr. John Demartini, which I might refer to, where he says, “If you do not fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you, your day will fill up with low priority distractions that will not.”
I think that really nails this whole conversation around how do we use technology to make sure it’s aligned with our goals. It’s being really clear on what those goals are, and making sure you’re filling your day up with the things that actually you do find fulfilling and rewarding. Because I know, whether it’s technology or not, the days that are not as planned or have mapped things out, whether it’s messages, so technology, or whether it’s somebody coming into the office and saying, “Hey, can you do this?” And it just throws my whole day up.
Tamara: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. So how do we achieve that?
Joel: I’ve got some thoughts, and I suppose this is more as a flow onto that sort of planning or goals piece, which is really is sort of three key areas. I’d say this is sort of strategically how I would approach it.
The first thing is, and you touched on this right at the start, is really around being intentional. So being intentional on how you use technology. Intentional and mindfulness. They’re separate things, but it’s together. So being intentional around how I’m going to use technology, and being mindful when you use technology. So that’d be the first thing.
I think the second thing, which sort of, this is a bit of a circular thing. I’m just thinking, we should do a diagram for this. The second thing is about being clear on your goals. So the question from @thatcodingyogi, which was around how to use technology in alignment with your goals. Well, my question is, what are your goals? And so doing that planning, what are your goals? When do you want to achieve those by? How are you going to measure success that you’ve achieved this? The typical one is I want to get fit. You don’t want to say I get fit. You want to say, I want to be a size X or I want to be able to do so many push-ups or so many whatever by this time. So being really clear on what those goals are. So that’s number two, is what I would say.
And then number three flows on from that, which is then prioritizing your actions. So being clear on what those goals are. How does that break down from an annual point of view? How does that break down to a quarterly point of view? How does that break down into a weekly point of view, and how does that break down into every day?
We do a quarterly planning session and reviewing, and this is following work with the Michael Hyatt’s planning program. But we do annual, but then quarterly we say, “Okay, what are the big three things we want to tackle this quarter?”
And then every week, on a Sunday night we are looking and saying, “Okay, what are the three big things we want to tackle this week?” And then we do the same thing every day. What are the three big things we want to tackle today? And making sure that’s aligned with the week, and that’s aligned with the quarterly, and that’s aligned with the annual.
Now I know, as I said before, when I do that and I do it well, then I’m a lot more productive, and I’m not using… not sort of wasting time or I don’t get those distractions. So that flows back into the first one, which is then about being intentional. So if we’re clear on the goals, we’re prioritizing our actions, and we’re therefore then intentional and mindful around how we use technology, I think that really sets you up for success.
Tamara: And with last point about prioritizing, that has helped me so much. I was historically a very big to-do list taker and I would, you know this, I have set times of when I need to achieve something at what point, and it’s dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, and it’s a massive, massive list and there’s no time to have a break, really. And then unforeseen things come in, and it throws me off for the whole day because I get this obstacle and I can’t complete the task that’s on my list. So being able to break it down into three. Now it might not always be three. Sometimes it’s two because it might be two really big tasks. It really just helps you set the intention for the day and prioritize the day. And then at the end of the day, you feel so productive.
Joel: You’re prioritizing it based on what’s important to you, so you feel fulfilled.
Tamara: Exactly. And then in the time that you have spare, yeah, of course you can go onto social media and look at the inspirational posts that you’re following.
Joel: Some positive examples then of how you can use technology in alignment with your goals, for example, when we talk about what we did this morning, we set the alarm so that we’re up early so that we could actually go for a walk this morning, and then have time to go to the gym before we plan for the podcast.
When we’re at the gym, I’m using a… or we both use apps that give us a structured workout plan. I’ve got some goals around what I’m looking to do achieve as far as my personal fitness, so I’ve got an app and a program that’s aligned with the goals that I want, which is around building strength.
Similarly, around social media. So I generally only use social media if I’m going to research something. After the Game Changers movie for instance, I then looked up some of the people that were referenced in the movie. We started doing some research around plant-based diet. I was very specific and intentional around what I wanted to do.
So there are a couple of easy examples of how using… by being clear on your goals and being intentional, you’re using technology to support what you want to achieve.
Tamara: Yeah, they’re great examples.
Joel: So do you want to talk a little bit more around some other ways that we can use technology in alignment with our goals?
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. So I think there’s really two parts to this. The first part being, removing the distractions. And then the second part of how can you use technology in alignment with your goals.
I’ll go through the first part of distractions, and I’ll start with your mobile phone. The first big one, and I think this is an obvious one, but notifications. Turn off all of your notifications. I mean, Joel does that and that’s a bit extreme for me. I only have very specific notifications. And if they are notifications, like a text message for example, it doesn’t have the whole text message in there. It just has the person’s name. So removing all of the unnecessary notifications, and that includes your social notifications. You can just leave your comments on if you want to know, respond to those comments, but remove as much as possible.
The second one is your home screen on your phone. So Joel and I both have Apple phones, and our first home page is all apps that are, one, aligned with our goals and, two, that create this more mindful experience. So when we first do open up our home screen, we are looking at apps that inspire us rather than distract us. So these are examples that I have. So I have books on there. I have Audible, Podcasts, I’ve got Flo, the period tracker, I’ve got Insight Timer, and then I’ve got my health apps. So I’ve got the Keep It Cleaner app, JSHealth, and then Down Dog. So every time I open up my phone, social media isn’t there. Or apps that have heaps of notifications aren’t there. It’s all apps that inspire me, and make me want to be a better person, and make me feel full within myself.
The second way to remove distractions would be more in alignment with social media. So one of my girlfriends does this, and I absolutely love this idea. I’m just really bad at remembering passwords. But what she does is she logs out of all of her social apps after she uses it. So then when she goes back into those social apps, she is able to set her intention, and really ask herself, “Well, why am I opening this app?” Is it because I’m procrastinating or I’m looking for instant gratification? Or is there a justification, like you want to find inspiration or you want to look at some updates or post a photo or anything like that.
Joel: That’s a great one. I think just having that sort of small little barrier in the way, it really forces you to be intentional and clear around what you’re going to do. I love that one.
Tamara: Yeah, me too. The other way is what I really like this one for Instagram, you can set a daily reminder of how long you want to be spending on the app. So I set mine for 45 minutes. I actually never reach that because I’m really intentional in how I use my social media apps. But yeah, Instagram. If you find yourself just scrolling mindlessly, set that reminder. So what prompts you to think, oh, I’ve done it again. What could I be doing in this time instead? Or do I not have an alignment with my goals? Ask yourself, why are you scrolling? Where is the gap? Or where is the hole that you’re trying to fill?
Joel: Yeah, and I should add, I mean the 45 minutes might seem a lot for some people as well.
Tamara: Oh, yeah.
Joel: But that’s because obviously you’re publishing a lot with FIIT Collective, and you’re responding to people’s comments, and things like that. So if you’re not doing that sort of stuff and it is more sort of checking in on friends and things, then you might set that reminder for a smaller timeframe.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. Yep. And then there’s your laptop. So there’s an app that you can download for Mac, which is a self-control app, which enables you to block yourself off websites completely during specific times of the day. You can also turn your notifications off on your laptop. This is one that I do all of the time because notifications drive me crazy.
And then I’m sure everyone here uses some sort of chat within their workplace. Again, this drives me absolutely insane because there’s so many different groups that you’re a part of. You might be working on eight projects in one time, and you’re constantly being pinged. I think people can hear the frustration in my voice. But I always turn my notifications on snooze. So when I have a task that I need to complete, is snooze those notifications. Yeah, turn them off. Snooze them and then get the task done, and once you’ve done that task, then you can go onto the chat and catch up with all the messages that you have there.
Now moving onto how you can use tech in alignment with your goals. So the first one, again, being phone. Your home screen. What is your background? Is it something that’s inspirational? Is it a quote or is it a reminder? Hey, Tamara, don’t go on social media for more than 45 minutes a day.
You can also turn your phone on Night Shift mode. Which is essentially extracting that blue light out of your phone, which Joel previously mentioned before, about the negative effects blue light can have on you, on your sleep, on your rest, on your brain health. It can cause digital eyestrain, there’s so much about it. Turning that night shift mode on can really, really help you.
Airplane mode. I love this one. So being able to turn airplane mode on, when you have certain tasks to complete throughout the day, so I do this at work all of the time. I turned my personal phone and my work phone on airplane mode and I finish the task before I turn them back on. When I sleep, you and I always put airplane mode on, because we don’t want the EMFs or anything like that disturbing us while we sleep and waking us up during the middle of the night.
Joel: That’s funny, because we don’t have alarm clocks, so we use the phones for alarm clocks, which is why they’re in the bedroom.
Joel: But yeah, we definitely don’t want it buzzing.
Tamara: Yeah, particularly when you’re working with global customers, like I am, they could be replying half way through the middle of the night and I do not want my sleep disturbed, because I am very cranky when I haven’t had my eight hours of sleep.
And then when you’re with friends, so turn your phone on airplane mode, have that quality one-on-one time with them, because spending time with friends ultimately makes you feel full, within yourself, and then makes you more productive at work and your work is a whole lot more inspirational.
There’s another way you can start using your phone is be conscious when you start to open your phone. So I listened to a podcast, not so long ago, and they use a really, really great technique. So if you’ve got an iPhone, whether you’ve got facial recognition or the home button, before you pick up your phone, don’t put your phone directly to your face, so it opens up your phone automatically, or don’t press that home button to open up your phone automatically.
Pick up your phone, and before you unlock your phone, feel how your body is reacting to this. So is your heart beat racing? Can you feel the wind on your skin? Just be a lot more mindful with how your body is feeling in that time. And then you can start to set your intention. So why am I actually picking up my phone right now? Is it a force of habit? Is it because I want to check a notification? Do I really need to be doing that right now or can it wait until I finish the task that I was doing, before I went to pick up my phone?
You mentioned the traffic lights before. So many people grab out their phone, not even being aware that they do that, but, you know, start scrolling on Instagram or on the internet or whatever they’re doing. In times like that, stand at the traffic light and look around you and you will be fascinated by what you see. You might see a building that you’ve never seen before. You might see someone with a really gorgeous outfit and it inspires you to pick up an outfit later in the week. It could be anything and it’s a really good way to start your work day.
Another way is on the bus. Now, I catch the bus to work every single day and I’m honestly shocked with how many people watch TV shows when they’re on their commute to work. And that is, in my personal opinion, the worst way to start your work day. There are more and more people starting to meditate, which is beautiful to see, or listening to podcasts or reading or audio books, but if you are on a mode of transport, use that time mindfully, use that time to inspire you and really set that work day, before you go into work.
Joel: Yeah. Well, actually, another good example is like I said, reading. You read a book last week, you absolutely churned through it, in the space of four or five days, you finished the book and that was just the ability to be able to read it on the way to and from work. You used that time productively and that’s also in alignment with your goals.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. Those books are helping me, or it’s inspiring me, to be a better person. So I will read a lot of personal development books and if people are hearing this and they say, “Oh, I get car sick when I read,” well, I used to be like that. I would get so car sick and I probably still, a little bit, but as I have caught the bus, for a longer period of time, my body has gotten used to it, essentially. So yeah, do what works for you, in that time.
Another way is remove the apps from your phone that you can have on your desktop. So, if they’re really distracting you on your phone, like social media apps, remove them from your phone and only enter them when you’re on your desktop. So you can, again, be more intentional with how you’re using those apps. Another thing that I absolutely love doing and you love doing as well, is leaving your phone at home. So when you go on a walk, leave your phone at home. When you go catch up with friends, leave your phone at home. Don’t bring your phone with you absolutely everywhere.
You know, if you’ve got a really big task that you need to do, put your phone in a completely different room, if it’s going to distract you that much. Put it in a different room.
And then we have social media and how you can use social media in alignment with your goals. So think about who are the types of people that you follow and when you read your posts, do you get inspiration from those posts or are you stuck in a world of comparison and feeling really negative about yourself?
If you are feeling negative, remove them. Stop following them, you need to do some work on yourself before you can start following them again. Be aware that social media is a highlight reel, so people really rarely share their struggles. You are only seeing a really small snippet of someone else’s life, as snippet that someone else is choosing to share with you. So build this conscious awareness and understand that it’s pointless to compare your messy, behind the scenes, unedited life to someone else’s curated snippet, that they have decided to show the world on social media.
Joel: Yeah, I think that’s a good one. Because yeah, the reality … it is a highlights reel. It’s a great way of putting it. Yep.
Tamara: Yeah. And then do a quarterly clean out. I love this. So every single quarter, go through all of your followers. Do they inspire you? Yes or no? If it’s a no, unfollow them. Are they in alignment of your goals? Yes or no? If it’s no, unfollow them. So @kim.learns actually recently did this, and she shared on Instagram that she was doing this, and educating people, not to feel disheartened if she is unfollowing them, but she is prioritizing herself, her goals, her values, and deciding to follow the people that inspire her.
Joel: That’s great. That’s definitely something I do as well. I do that with my emails as well, so having a bit of a clean out on stuff that I may have subscribed to originally, that was beneficial to me, but, for whatever reason, isn’t any more, and I unsubscribe from that. It’s just getting rid of those distractions that are not fulfilling you.
Tamara: Yeah, yeah. And then it comes to what are you posting? And only share content that expresses the true you and not just for the approval of likes. Don’t post another photo of your laptop and yourself in a selfie, just because it’s going to get the most amount of likes. I actually wrote a post the other day, of a influencer saying that she’s had to take a social break, because she was so sick of posting photos of herself and her laptop, because that’s the most amount of likes that she would get.
And she said that she was going to start sharing more of her life and the health side, because that’s what gave her the most fulfillment. So she is consciously making that decision and said herself that, “I don’t care if I don’t get any likes on my lifestyle posts, but that’s the type of content that I want to share, and that makes me feel good.”
Joel: That’s great.
Tamara: Yeah. So it’s really beautiful to already start seeing people doing these types of things. If you’re an influencer, and when I say influencer, you could have a hundred followers. You don’t need to have 100,000 followers. But if you are an influencer, think about the value that you are giving to your audience. How do you want to serve them? How do you want them to feel after they’ve read your post? Is it aligned with your purpose and values? So is what you’re posting in alignment of what … the goals that you want to achieve or that you want others, to inspire, to achieve as well?
Joel: And that goes back to the previous point too, around doing things that fill you up. Not necessarily just posting stuff to get a like.
Tamara: Oh, absolutely. And then you don’t have to capture in the moment. You can record and upload later. So if you’re with your friends or if you’re doing a task at work and you think, “Oh, this is a great opportunity to take a photo or a video,” take it. And then later, when you have the time to write the text or put in the location or whatever else, upload it later. It doesn’t have to be in the moment. Reality is, no one’s really going to know anyways.
And then your laptops. So things that I really like to do is block out time in your calendar. So what are those building blocks? So Joel mentioned it before, about having the three tasks. Block that in your calendar to make sure that you’re not overbooked with other meetings or things like that. And then again, you can actually turn night shift mode on, for Mac users as well, on your laptop.
Joel: Great. They’re all really good ideas and suggestions, which … there’s a couple in there I really liked. Awesome.
So what are your top three take aways for this topic?
Tamara: I didn’t mention it, but this is probably my biggest one, is don’t do everything all at once. Make progressive changes. You don’t have to make a cold, hard stop because, ultimately, if you do that, then you’re just going to get back into the bad habits as is.
So make small changes at once. If you want to start with your notifications, start with you notifications, then set the daily time limit, then change your home screen. So make the changes that feels right for you. The second one is to tune into your body and mind. So if you catch yourself scrolling, identify why. Are you tired? Are you overworked? Do you have a lack of alignment with your goals? Are you unmotivated? What could you be doing instead? So start asking yourself those questions and then jot down, on notes, what your answers are to help you have that clarity of your goals and what you want out of your life.
Joel: Yeah, that’s a good one, because I think … Ironically, I think when we are tired and that’s when we’re more likely to jump onto social and scroll endlessly. So yeah, having that rest and stuff allows you to be more intentional.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. And then the third one, follow people who inspire you. This was a really big one for me. You know, being able to look at an Instagram account and be like, “Wow, she is so amazing. I want to be like her,” or “I want to change a part of my life to be a better version of me.” If you’re looking at a post and thinking “rah rah rah rah rah” or being quite negative about it-
Joel: What was that?
Tamara: That’s probably me, me complaining about someone. So if you’re like that, then unfollow that person until you know you’re ready to follow them again or feel inspired by their posts again. What would your three takeaways be?
Joel: Look, I think if the … on the topic of how to use technology in alignment with your goals, then the number one for me is be clear on what your goals are, because you’re always going to struggle using technology in the right way if you’re not clear on that. So that’d be number one.
Number two is then, as a flow on from that, how do you prioritize your actions every day? So identifying those big three that you’re doing, for the quarter, the big three for the week, and the big three for the day. And as you said, schedule those, do those things first. If you’ve done those three things by midday, if you can, assume you don’t have back to back meetings … but if you’ve done those big three by midday, well, the rest of the day is a bonus, it really is.
So, prioritize your actions every day. And then the third thing covers some of the stuff that you talked about, which is really around removing distractions to allow you to have that deep, focused work. So the big one there is disabling notifications, which I know you hate, when you’re trying to get a hold of me, but disabling those notifications and moving the social media apps from the home screen, so you don’t get those little sort of red things saying, “Hey, look at me, look at me, look at me.”
So yeah, move that stuff away. So I think, yeah, just really trying to … structuring your whole life and day around what your goals are.
Tamara: I love that. I love that. And don’t be hard on yourself if you do get distracted. Joel and I are not perfect.
Joel: No, we all have our bad days.
Joel: For those who think we are never tired. We do get tired and there are days we might catch ourselves scrolling mindlessly, but it’s being more aware of it, so you can catch it.
Tamara: Yeah, yeah. And just trying better every single day.
Tamara: That brings us to the end of the podcast. It’s been great having you back on, Joel.
Joel: It’s been great to be here. Thank you. I really enjoyed it.