Jan. 26, 2023

TDB #001: My 1 P.M Protocol For Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Getting Your Life Back

TDB #001: My 1 P.M Protocol For Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Getting Your Life Back

In the first week of 2023 I came to a startling realisation when returning to work.

Just a couple of days into the New Year I felt distracted, my attention scattered and a deep sense of overwhelm as I felt pulled every which way by life.

Each morning was spent on and off my phone, each journey in the car my ears filled with music or podcasts, and the only time I felt relaxed was walking in the woods with my dog.

Realising something needed to change I’m going to run through the x changes and realisations I made this month to begin to still my mind.


I call it the 1 p.m. Protocol.


The protocol leverages the fact that most of us enjoy our most productive hours in the morning, and I’m going to share it with you below.

 

Limit smartphone use till 1 p.m.

I’d heard people say to have your phone switched off for 30 minutes to 1 hour after waking, which I’ve done for years till 8 a.m. – bearing in mind I generally get up at 5.30 a.m.

All well and good but then I’d switch it on and ping, ping, ping, ping, flash vibrate as various apps popped into life.

Cue - battle to focus getting ready in the morning, and  being present with my family before the working day starts.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is strong and the temptation to message people back, scroll, you name it, it happened.

Damage done, my attention derailed for the morning and most of the day.

I’d experimented with leaving my phone in a drawer for the first few hours of the morning at weekends with awesome results so I did this.

I logged off of all attention stealing apps till 1 p.m. and in particular my top 3 right now – LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Realisation 1: I got a ton of stuff done in the mornings enjoying clarity and focus whilst doing it.

 


Put your phone away (and preferably out of reach).

Sounds obvious doesn’t it but just the simple act of putting your phone away or out of reach makes a massive difference.

It breaks the compulsive habit of picking it up, checking it and scrolling to see if – shock horror anything happened since the last time you checked it 5 minutes before.

Realisation 2: I stopped picking my phone up to look at it, fire up the screen and check it.

 


Put your phone on silent, switch off WIFI and data or switch it off.

“No I can’t because somebody might need me” I hear you say.

Let’s break this down.

My wife, and my kids schools have home and work numbers for me so in an emergency they can get me.

I’ve left my phone in my car for a whole morning before by accident, and I had a few missed calls but nothing so urgent it couldn’t be dealt with in the afternoon.

The world won’t end if you are uncontactable or limit peoples access to you for a few hours.

Realisation 3: The world existed before smartphones and people were contactable in emergencies.



Reduce inputs/Increase outputs

This was by far the biggest revelation for me in an information overloaded world.

Think about inputs and outputs like this.

Have you ever been saying goodbye to a visitor to your house and at exactly the same time another visitor arrives.

Your brain does a malfunction as it grapples with the task of saying goodbye to one person whilst simultaneously greeting the other.

It throws you completely. And does so for a few minutes afterwards whilst your brain reconciles the chaos.

Think about your typical morning:

  • phone on upon waking (input)
  • kitchen radio on (input)
  • your wife running though the 64,000 things you need to remember as you walk out of the door (input)
  • music or podcasts on in the car, when working out, when walking (input),
  • every spare minute filled with (inputs)

It all comes under the multitasking banner which as we know is bullshit (despite what women say)– if you want to do anything properly single tasking is best.

What I noticed is that when I reduced and eliminated inputs, I slowed down, my mind stilled, and the best bit of all my creativity and ideas stepped forth.

Realisation 4: You cannot focus on quality output when being distracted by multiple inputs.

Realisation 5: Reducing input simultaneously reduces overwhelm and FOMO.

 

Embrace Silence

 

My old man used to say that “silence is not a vacuum to be filled by noise”, usually in relation to people that can’t stop talking.

Sometimes I felt the sharp end of this but you know what?

He was right.

As I actively pursued moments of silence in my day it let my mind off the lead, freed up bandwidth and allowed calm in.

Like that feeling when you step onto a beach.

Realisation 6: You don’t need to be filling your brain with stuff continuously, just give it a break.

And that’s it.

I hope you found todays bulletin helpful and if you can relate to any of this let me know.

I’ve realised that stressed and burnt out dads don’t make the best husbands and fathers as they end up running on fumes.

I’m going to delve into this more in 2023.

Have a great Friday.

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Whenever you are ready, there are 3 ways I can help you.

1. Coaching. Work with me on a 1-1 basis to address the biggest challenges you want to overcome and obstacles stopping you from getting there.

2. Join the Guild of Dads Brotherhood. Join with a growing brotherhood of high calibre men looking to challenge one another, stay accountable and level up across multiple areas of life.

3. Come on one of our monthly hikes. Each month I take a group of dads on a FREE TO ATTEND, 2 hour hike set against the beautiful backdrop of the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. No phones, no kids no distractions, just great company and brotherhood.