The switch in your mindset that will bring the fastest results in your productivity levels is called going from reactive to proactive time management. What do I mean by that? Being reactive means that you react to every stimulus from the environment, immediately as it happens.
- Somebody calls you and you immediately pick up the phone
- You get a notification, you open the app and see what’s up
- You get an email, you drop whatever you’re doing and start replying to the email
- Somebody enters your office and you start chatting
These are all examples of being reactive. You have zero control, zero say in what will happen during your working day. You simply react to everything that is thrown at you.
It’s impossible to be productive if you’re not in control. You must take control. So, remember, time flies, but you’re the pilot, not other people around you. You’re the boss of your time.
Switch to proactive time management
Going from a reactive to proactive approach to time management is pretty simple. You just have to decide when, where and how you’ll react to external impulses and communicate your productivity rules with others.
You have to consciously decide when you’ll reply to your emails, call people back or have a meeting. You set the rules when it’s the best time for you to do the deep work without any distractions and when it’s the best time to interact with other people.
On a very practical level, it simply means that:
- You turn off your phone when you want to work in peace
- You put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office when you don’t want people to stop by
- You shut down your email client when it’s not the best time to reply to emails
- You install a web-nanny that will prevent you from visiting social networks when it’s time for deep work and so on.
You can easily do that by setting up a proper system – a set of rules that you strictly follow, and communicate these rules with the people you interact with. It’s that simple, trust me.
Overcome the FOMO – fear of missing out
If you’re still in doubts, let’s take a step back. Let me reveal the psychology behind reactive behavior, which is the behavior that 90% of people follow. We’re all afraid of missing out on things if we don’t react immediately.
We’re all afraid that people will love us less and forget about us if we’re not constantly available. But those are false assumptions and fake fears. In reality, the opposite happens.
People respect people who know how to set boundaries. People admire people who know how to be productive and deliver stuff. Everybody loves Elon Musk, and I’m sure he’s not checking notifications on his phone every second. Or his email.
People will admire you for being smart, productive and decisive. Even more. People will love you for taking focused time without any distractions when you spend time with them.
Once you actively listen to people you spend time with, without checking your phone, they will immediately see the benefits of your system. They will immediately see the power of undistracted focus.
Everybody looks at their mobile phone while spending time with people. That leads to shitty relationships and communication – personal or professional. Actively listening, showing care for somebody, taking focused time, that’s what people really love and respect. Real connections, instead of only being connected online.
Don’t be afraid to set a system for yourself and to be in charge of your schedule. You’ll be a gazillion times more productive, your relationships will dramatically improve, and I promise you, you won’t miss out on anything. You’ll start living your life and creating awesome things.