How often do you feel trapped and you wish to have more time to do the things you love? Perhaps you have a job, and you can’t wait for the weekend to come. Once the weekend is here, you are more relaxed and you know that you’ll have plenty of time for everything that you’ve planned to do. Two hours later, you catch yourself scrolling through your endless feeds and you feel guilty. Instead of doing something useful you end up binging on your favorite Netflix show because you are a human and you deserve some rest, after all.
If you want to write a novel or side hustle any other business you will have to learn to say NO.
Snoozing doesn’t bring any value. Interrupting your dream after 5 or 10 minutes will make you feel groggy and even more tired.
One useful method for not hitting the snooze button is to count from 5 to 1 and then just launching yourself from the bed.
You can find out more about this method in the book The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robins. She’s built an entire lifestyle around that rule and it works quite well for her.
Checking notifications and scrolling through social media
This is, by all means, the distraction number one for the majority of people.
Being able to contact anyone in the world is an amazing thing but constantly checking our notifications is extremely unproductive.
How many times have you caught yourself looking at your screen without even remembering picking it up?
All apps, games, and gadgets are designed to be addictive. Finding out that someone liked your post, followed your feed or messaged you leads to realization that someone might care for you or at least have noticed you.
That causes dopamine release and your body wants more of the stuff which makes it happy.
Social media creators know that and they use it to compete for your attention.
Once you give them your attention, they sell it to advertisers and you’re forced to watch that annoying 5-second commercial before you can click it away. Meanwhile, the service provider is making money off of your attention.
More importantly, once they get your attention, they don’t want to give it back to you. They are constantly offering you entertaining things and before you know it, you are already 2 hours deep into the endless scrolling through all of your favorite social media platforms.
It doesn’t mean that you need to give up social media but you wouldn’t lose anything if you do. My advice is to remove all these apps from your phone, or at least disable the notifications.
Set aside a time block for social media, if you really need to use them. Make sure that you only visit your social media accounts once you’ve finished all your important tasks.
Otherwise, we all know what happens.
This rule applies to checking your stats and emails.
Replying to negative comments
Not everybody deserves your attention and least of them are people who leave negative comments.
Whatever your business is, if you post something online there is a huge chance that someone will leave a negative comment.
One negative comment can cast a shadow over 100 positive ones. That person who left a negative comment often feels frustrated because the thing you gave her isn’t for her. It has nothing to do with you or the things you produce.
We tend to get into conversations with the people who didn’t like our work and the more we defend ourselves the more they attack us. The only outcome of responding to a negative comment is you feeling bad after the conversation is over and you spending next couple of days arguing with that person in your head.
Cherish the people who enjoyed your work and have found it useful, and ignore the people who disliked your work. You can’t please everybody.
Playing Video Games
Unless you’re a teenager who can’t actually make a reasonable decision, you shouldn’t be playing video games.
They are pure entertainment and they don’t bring any kind of value to your life. What’s even worse, they are as addictive as social media and you could end up spending days trying to defeat the nemesis in the virtual world.
The reason for video game addiction is that they have a reward system build in; you get a false sense of accomplishments. You go through certain tasks, gain levels, medals, gadgets, weapons, bars, hearts, candies, and if you’re not skilled enough, you can always buy whatever you’re missing.
If you really want to play games, I would suggest chess, because it can develop your cognitive, tactical, and strategical thinking, it will boost your concentration, and you won’t have to buy anything to win the game; you do have to spend some time learning it, though.
Watching TV shows
While I have nothing against movies, TV shows are on my blacklist as well.
Most TV shows are meant to be movies but after each studio in Hollywood have rejected them, the creators decided to spread the script into a season or two and try to sell them as an easy show for masses.
Apart from low-quality drama, cinematography, and production in general, TV shows are there to sell commercials and therefore, they are addictive as well. That’s the main reason why you would end up watching 6 seasons of your favorite show for an entire weekend and doing zero productive work.
Solving other people’s problems, being a part of their drama and entertaining them
Unless you’re a paid professional in any of these three fields, I would suggest avoiding doing these things.
I’m not suggesting that you don’t help other people, but most of the time you’re solving problems just because you’re being a sucker who’s doing other people’s work because they are unwilling to put the necessary effort.
For example, if you’re a writer, how many times have you been approached with a question:
Can you write this letter for me? I would do it myself but I know that you’re so much more skilled than I’m. And plus, you’re a writer, it’s what you do. It’s easy for you.
And then, you spend the next two hours writing somebody’s shit. Could have they done that without you? Definitely.
There is a huge difference between person in need and a lazy person who is skipping their chores.
People can also drag you into their drama without any particular reason. They would spend hours speaking about their asshole boss, or mother-in-law, or whatever, while your only purpose will be to sit there, listen and soak that negative energy and carry their burden with you.
It’s important to help a friend in need and to listen to them but most of the time people are overdramatizing and there is no need for you to listen to their shit. Whatever they had with their boss, should be solved between them and their boss. People just want that ‘poor you’ look in your eyes.
You’re not anybody’s source of entertainment. If someone calls you and says:
I’m bored, let’s go out and have a drink.
It doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all your work just to entertain them. It doesn’t apply to your friends only, the same goes for your family; they need to learn that you’ve got some things to do and once you’re available, you could go out for a drink or spend some time with them in whatever form.
Once you start saying NO to people, they will start respecting you more. If you’re a YES person, it would only give them a signal that they could exploit you easily and they will throw some random shit in your face simply because they’ll know that you’re unable to refuse them.
Remember, your attention needs to be earned.
If you don’t respect your time and your obligations, the others won’t either.
Once you start applying these principals, you’ll be surprised by the amount of free time and stuff done.