The Life-Changing Power of 3 Hours a Day
— video transcript —
I recently shared that when I became digitally organized and learned and created systems to manage my digital, social, mobile life, I reclaimed nearly three hours to my days. Someone commented, “wow, that’s a lot of hours, especially over the course of many years.”
And it is! that is a phenomenal amount of hours! I wanted to share with you how that happened.
At the point that I realized I was very overwhelmed in my digital, social, mobile life and with all my devices and technology, I was running a digital marketing agency. So I had multiple clients. I was posting on behalf of multiple clients many times a day. I was staying apprised of activity on all the social platforms. I operated my independent business remotely using email. I managed my day based on what was stacked up in my inbox or inboxes, as there was more than one.
I had a team working for me, a small team all working remotely. But I did not have great systems in place to easily delegate. So when I would arrive at a task that needed to be done in my inbox, of course it was usually layered underneath new emails coming in all the time. Rather than artfully delegating and getting it off my plate on to others’ who could handle it. I would just respond in the moment and deal with it. So not only was I very loaded with all the email, all the social media activity plus unorganized files, unorganized phone photos that many of which were relevant for my work, I was not even managing the operations of my business effectively because I had people working with me and yet I could not always delegate in an effective way because of my inefficiencies and overwhelm.
When I got all of that straight, a beautiful thing happened. Immediately, I started delegating. Boom. I started knowing what I could shift over to someone else or file or throw back to the client for them to get back to me rather than letting things sit and stack up on top of me as if I were a complete solo act. I had gone from “me to we” in my business. It wasn’t just me and yet I wasn’t using my team effectively.
So with all of that in place, absolutely right away: hours back in my day, I remember one afternoon, everything that needed to happen in the course of that day was already done. And I looked at my clock and it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Typically I would work the equivalent of a full eight hour day. Being an independent business person, I did have some nuance to how I packaged those hours throughout the day. So it wasn’t like I literally sat down at eight and wasn’t done till five. I may hop off the computer mid-afternoon and do a late lunch or something, but I would always have to return, and I would leave my days with many things possibly only partially done or a feeling of things being undone. But that day, 2:30 in the afternoon, there was nothing left that I had to do. And I’ll be real honest, I just sat there and soaked in the beauty of being done with the immediate tasks that were required of me that day. I didn’t try to be more productive and start on a new project, which there’s always a new project again, start on. I just enjoyed the openness of the space and time I had beautifully granted myself through better digital organization.
When I was at that point of being overwhelmed, it took a wake-up with myself to realize the digital clutter was even a thing that was holding me back. I was so accustomed to having hundreds of unread emails in my inbox. I was so accustomed to constantly scrolling social media even when I didn’t need to for work purposes. I was so accustomed to getting pinged by notifications all the live-long day. I didn’t even realize how that was standard operating procedure for me at that point and that it was disruptive. It took a moment in time in which I sat down. I was not being productive at all. I felt very overwhelmed and I realized ‘oh my gosh, I’m choosing to hop on social media and scroll numbly ‘cause I don’t even wanna look at that inbox facing me and all the stuff that’s in there.” I always call it the archeological dig that was my email inboxes, and I realized, Ding! I needed to address this aspect of my life.
We often to talk about clutter and we think physical space. I have come to redefine clutter as anything that affects any part of our lives. So I decluttered my digital life. I got hours back in my day. Then I started to declutter my mind because actually that’s what happened in tandem with decluttering my digital life. I was rewiring my brain. Within a year, I no longer had issues with my body image and my dance with the up and down of pounds. I applied that same construct of dealing with clutter to my weight and how I interact with my body. Talk about freeing time up in my day to not stand in my closet for 15 minutes, wondering what of the five things that fit at the time I wanted to wear! Now I can walk in, pick it, pick out anything that I’m in the mood to wear and enjoy it for that day. I had already had some pretty good grasp on my physical space clutter and I was able to use that physical space organization in application for my digital life and even how I got in touch with my body image and weight.
And then I started applying all that free time to learning new things: neuroscience, the skills and aspects of life coaching that are now part of my professional path.
So yeah, when I talk about getting literally almost three hours back to my days, and that does primarily relate to work days, mind you. But I did get time back to any day on the calendar because as someone who does digital marketing or did digital marketing as a full-time profession back then owning my own agency, there was never an off button to any of that. So it was affecting literally every day of my life. I don’t live the same life anymore. For me at the time that I’m recording this, the decluttering of my digital life happened about six years ago. So imagine all those hours back, now accumulated over literally years of my life.
Wow, what precious time. No wonder my life looks very different in this moment.
Yes, I’m in the same house. I have the same dogs. I’m in the same office. I’m married to the same sweet husband, but I’m on a completely different career path entirely. I was able to, out of my own desire, exit my digital marketing agency business that I had grown and started to run way more efficiently. When I exited that business, because I had become so solid in how I delegated and used the small team who worked with me, they were able to carry on that business and continue working with the clients we had. So they didn’t miss a beat. When I changed professions, they were able to keep going and have new opportunities because I delegated better. So they were on it. They knew completely how to carry on with those clients that we had.
I learned new things that truly just interest me and spark me more. So much so I knew I wanted something different, something new for my path professionally, I felt really drawn to go forward in a new way. I didn’t, at that point want, to stay where I was. That’s a whole new life!
Even though some of the actual construct of where I’m at and who I’m with remains because I want it to remain and it’s very lovely, I’m a new me. Those hours freed up showed me I had been on loop. I was nothing but AI back then accepting that “oh, it’s normal to have hundreds of unread emails in my inbox. Oh, it’s normal to have over 10,000 and sometimes up to 20,000 phone photos on my phone that I need to scroll through. Oh, it’s normal to get dozens upon dozens of notifications within the given hour of the day that disrupt me and keep me from focusing and creating.” I had to wake up and realize NO, that’s not normal and that’s not how it has to be.
Our digital, social, mobile tools should be tools that we use on our terms, on our own behalf. And when we conquer that, organize them and stop the overwhelm, we will free up time.
You may be listening to this and thinking, “I do not lose that much time with my technology, my devices and all my platforms and everything.” And maybe you don’t. This isn’t necessarily the same story for everyone, but I do invite you to wake up to the potential issue that’s there. You may be as I was—so accustomed to the clutter and overwhelm that you don’t even fully see it, let alone acknowledge it as something that needs to be revised and corrected to free you up not only professionally but personally. So begin to take note. I’ve raised your awareness. Now take that awareness and pay attention. Is there anything that you need to take action on?
There are some studies that say that the average business person, knowledge worker or somebody who’s in the office on the computer all the time, is losing about an hour a day just looking for files they need. And those files could be actual documents, photos, email messages, direct messages, however you receive your communications. Just an hour looking for basic stuff you need to get the next task done. And again, this is such a common thing to happen for those of us in the working world today. We don’t even fully acknowledge that that is a great issue. You may think,” I’m not addicted to social media. I don’t scroll that much.” Pay attention. Now that you have awareness, when do you just mindlessly, innocently, no nefarious activity here, but you just pick up your phone and scroll Facebook just to kind of fill in the mental blank between tasks. Maybe that’s not disruptive, but maybe you do that and the next thing you know, you’ve lost 24 minutes that could have been just the break that you needed. Get up from your desk, walk around and go on to the next task. Just again, pay attention.
I really did gain about three hours back to my days, and all these years later, I was open to transitioning to a new path, transforming my professional life and creating more openness, peacefulness, and space in my personal life. My everyday life is better.
I just wanted to share this, awaken you and let you know I’m here if you need to declutter not only your digital life, but I can teach you how to declutter your what you’re dealing with with your body and your weight. I can teach you how to deal with your physical space; I actually really enjoy that topic. And I’m very good at using these same rewiring of the brain mental constructs to help you conquer whatever is blocking you from the new and the different that you actually really deeply desire for yourself, for your life. Removing one block maybe all it takes to open up an entirely new path or make the beautiful path that you’re on more expansive and generative and enjoyable.
Thanks for being here! Reach out to me anytime.
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