Stop Wasting Time and Skyrocket Your Success

10 min read

Stop Wasting Time Skyrocket Success Jeffrey Feldberg

Stop wasting time and skyrocket your success. As an entrepreneur you have a choice: focus or perish.  And here’s the kicker.  Technology is both the problem and the solution to free up your time through automation.  It’s the same technology that has entrepreneurs perishing from a lack of focus.

Whoever said “The successful man is the average man, focused.” is both brilliant and prophetic.

Look around you.  Distractions are everywhere.  Your precious time and attention are under attack from email and social networks.  The seductive allure of titillating headlines and the fear of missing out takes over.  Forget radio and television.  Your smartphone and computer are command central for distraction.

A Global Epidemic Otherwise Known As Lack of Focus

The numbers say it all, and it isn’t pretty.  The Huffington Post reports that 90% of workers check personal email at work.  On personal time, 87% of respondents check business emails.  Of the 6 hours a day spent on emails, half of that time is personal, and the other half is work related.

Ben Woods from Wired UK shares that social media distractions have 47% of people miss out on sleep.  Of the same group, 31% skip spending time with family and friends.  Best intentions aside, 49% admit to spending more time online than intended.

And speaking of online, the Social Media networks are burning up the charts for time we spend on them.  Evan Asano reports in Social Media Today that we consume 116 minutes a day on social media. YouTube clocks in at 40 minutes, Facebook at 35 minutes and Snapchat at 25 minutes.  Each. And. Every. Day.

 
Time and Not Money Is Your Most Valuable Resource
Every person on this planet, rich or poor, has 1,440 minutes every day. No more. No less. Nobody can store time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
 
To be a successful entrepreneur stop wasting time.  Know that time, and not money is your most valuable resource.  Speaking of wasting time, let’s do some math.
 
On any given day, how many interruptions do you have?
 
At first blush checking your email or social media account for a few minutes seems harmless. You could even argue that it provides a much-needed break.
 
Gloria Mark would say otherwise. Mark is a specialist in Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Mark found that every interruption costs the average person 23 minutes and 15 seconds. To be dramatic that’s 82, 815 seconds forever lost.
 
In other words, every interruption that causes you to lose your focus takes you 23 minutes to get back into the flow.
 
You take a minute to check your email. Congratulations, you lost 23 minutes. You take two minutes out and check the latest posts from your friends on Facebook. Congratulations, you lost another 23 minutes. You’re on a roll and decide to watch that hilarious 3 minute YouTube clip. Yup, another 23 minutes lost forever.
 
Unveiling the True Costs for Lack of Focus
If you’re honest with yourself you know it’s never a few minutes. 30 seconds to peek at your inbox turns into ten minutes of responding and getting caught up. Or worse yet, you read an email that takes up your mind space for the rest of the day. That 3 minute YouTube clip turned into 20 minutes of YouTube gorging. And on it goes.
 
To go from bad to worse, Mark had another discovery. Although you do recover from your lack of focus, the quality of work suffers as you scramble to make up time from wasting time. As an example, the sales presentation where you planned to have 5 case studies now has 2. The 7 page strategic summary from the last conference now becomes a scant paragraph.
 
What’s the difference, you ask? Nobody will notice, and I still get the point across anyways.
 
The point is this. Most studies suggest there are between 50 and 60 interruptions every day. If each interruption costs 23 minutes and 15 seconds, you need another 23 hours to recover.
 
Impossible.
 
Here’s something interesting. Most of the studies the industry references are from 2002 (Cubesmart) to 2005 (Basex). So what, you ask?  Twitter launched in March 2006. Facebook began in 2004. YouTube started in 2005.
 

In all likelihood, the number of daily distractions is higher, much higher.

3 Things Nobody Tells You About Wasting Time

 
1.  Wasting Time Robs Your Creativity
Let’s take a step back for a moment and recap.
 
We’ve established that distractions have you lose your focus. It doesn’t matter if the distraction is from co-workers, Facebook, or the weather.
 
Every distraction takes at least 23 minutes and 15 seconds for you to get back into your flow and mindset.
 
You need more time to recover from daily distractions than there are hours in the day.  As a result, you sacrifice quality to compensate.  Let’s take this from the theoretical to everyday life.  For you art lovers, let’s look at Michelangelo’s David and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
 
Can you imagine Michelangelo doing David as a bust because he doesn’t have the time for a statue?
 
Can you imagine Leonardo da Vinci doing the Mona Lisa as a sketch, instead of a portrait, so that he can get back the lost time?
 
And for you technophiles, how about Apple introducing the iPhone with a keyboard?
 
Is that the kind of world you’d like to live in, devoid of beauty and where the magic of melding art and science is no more?  I don’t.  On a personal level, let me ask you this:
 
2.  Wasting Time Loses Your Focus Causing You To Perish

Apple was Steve Jobs. What’s missing from this picture is Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer (CDO) at Apple.

The collaboration between Ive and Jobs led to everything iconic about Apple. As CDO, Ive’s designs touches everything and are at the heart of Apple. From the candy color iMacs, iOS interface, packaging, retail stores, and everything Apple.

Ive’s contribution to society and design had Buckingham Palace knight him in 2012. Ive gave a rare interview to Robert Sullivan from Vogue magazine. Sullivan notes:

“[Ive’s] phone neither rings nor vibrates; he has designed the moment for concentration. He nurses a white mug of tea, and the only thing in the room besides an iPhone is the pair of reading glasses…”

In the same interview, Ive said:

“I think now more than ever it’s important to be clear, to be singular and to have a perspective, one you didn’t generate as the result of doing a lot of focus groups.”

From the iconic iPhone to the Apple watch, how many interruptions do you think Ive experiences every day?

Now don’t get me wrong. When I talk about interruptions, I’m referring to something that stops your activities. In Sullivan’s article, he mentions how Ive’s design studio has loud music playing. In fact, legend has it that Ive told his designers to turn up the music when Jobs walked in to help mute his criticism.

Ive has figured out how to stop wasting time and mastered the power of focus. This resulted in the birth of the iPhone, iPad and Apple watch. Through Ive, the melding of technology, design, and people has forever changed society. Industries formed, countless jobs created, and new ways to connect to each other.

 
3.  To Achieve Success Is To Master Focus
Love it or hate it, the Internet has forever changed our world. The internet has leveled the playing field for entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur on a shoestring budget can now compete with and beat large companies.
 
But it’s a two edged sword. The Internet has increased competition to levels never seen before in human history. The Internet, technology, and entrepreneurs have become a powerful trifecta. This trifecta has the power to help millions of people, and at the same time, create massive wealth.
 
Cal Newport calls this the ‘New Economy.’  Newport is an Associate Professor at Georgetown University and author Deep Work. Newport contends that success in the New Economy depends on two things:
  1. Your ability to master hard things fast
  2. Your ability to produce, at what Newport calls, an ‘elite level’ with both quality and speed
Newport offers what is both an intriguing observation and precondition to achieving success.
 
 
The reality is, as an entrepreneur you’re competition is the world. Consumers now have access to more information and choice than ever thought possible. As a result, your offering must be world class in every way.  Knowing how to stop wasting time through focus and deep works allows you to tap into your full potential.
 
Let’s revisit our earlier examples. Imagine a hurried entrepreneur and artist with 60 or more distractions a day who eeks out a bust of David. As nice as the bust may be, worldwide competition would wash this out with a magnificent statue of David. There’s no comparison.
 The One Thing Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Oprah Have in Common
 
To succeed today, an entrepreneur needs to be off the grid to get things done. Leave the email inbox behind. Don’t even think about checking your Facebook timeline. Live as if your Twitter feed was a figment of your imagination.
 
Impossible you say?
 
Think again.
 
Michael Simmons penned an interesting article in Inc magazine talking about Benjamin Franklin. You know, the Founding Father, author, and the guy on the $100 bill Benjamin Franklin.
 
Simmons advocates that the secret behind Franklin’s success was constant learning. Franklin spent one hour a day, five days a week, to read, reflect and experiment. In other words, Franklin was always learning at least five hours every week. Hence the 5 Hour Rule.
 
Isn’t it interesting how Franklin’s ability to learn required focus. Franklin’s constant learning supports Newport’s notion of deep thinking. Little wonder that Franklin was also a postmaster, scientist, inventory, and diplomat.
 
It turns out that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Oprah follow the five-hour rule. Indeed, Gates, Buffet, and Oprah dedicate at least an hour a day to read, reflect and experiment.
 

11 Strategies to Direct Your Focus and Command Life Success

 
Your journey to success starts with a first step. Follow these eleven strategies to claim back your time and help you command life success.
 
1. Technology to Protect Your Time From Technology
If technology is a large part of the problem, let’s use technology to protect your time. Two great apps to the rescue!
 
A free add-in for the Chrome web browser that helps you stay focused is StayFocused by Transfusion Media. List the sites you want to block and for how long.  StayFocused protects you from you!
 
RescueTime installs on both your computer and mobile device. Detailed reports show exactly how much time you’re on websites and apps. Take it a step further and block websites for a certain period. Although RescueTime isn’t free, the cost is minimal and your time is priceless.
 
There’s one catch for this strategy. It requires the discipline for you to set up the apps and follow it. This one’s a no-brainer. Don’t even think about it and do it.
 
2. The 5 Hour Rule
Let’s take the lead from Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Oprah. Commit at least one hour a day, five days a week, to reading, researching and experimenting. And no interruptions while you’re at it. As counterintuitive as it may sound, spending a focused hour per day helps you to stop wasting time.   The insights, ideas, and discovery pave the way for innovation.  Your next life changing idea is waiting for you to discover it through focused activity!
 
3. Sleep More
As simple as this sounds, most people are sleep deprived. Sleep is the most overlooked, simple and effective tool in your arsenal.
 
Lack of sleep causes constant hunger, moodiness, a spotty memory, and being sick often.
 
Between 7 and 8 hours is the optimal number from my research. While you’re at it, ensure your room is as dark and as cool as possible. Cover up blinking lights from electronics, phones and whatever else may be in your room. Studies point to 64F as the optimal room temperature.
 
4. Finish What You Start
Enough said.
 
5. Avoid Perfection
Stop wasting time on perfection.  It’s better to have something done, even if it’s not perfect than to wait until it’s perfect. Think of it this way. While you toil around trying to make it perfect, your competition is in the marketplace.  In my experience, the time spent on making something perfect is rarely appreciated by the marketplace.  And this assumes that whatever was done is noticed in the first place.      
 
6. Plan Ahead
As the old saying goes when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Planning ahead is as simple as writing down the 3 to 5 most important things you’ll do today.
 
If you have more than five items, you have too much. Chances are some of the items aren’t important. Remove these items. It never ceases to amaze me how the unimportant stuff has a way of taking care of itself.
 
Whatever you don’t finish, pick it up tomorrow.  And while you’re at it, remember strategies 4 and 5!
 
7. Be Accountable to Others
If you make a mistake, own it. You’ll not only defuse the situation, but you’ll also earn the respect of those around you. Easier said than done and there’s no room for egos.
 
One effective strategy is to assume responsibility for everything. Everything you do and AND everything that happens to you. The reality is you can only control yourself anyways. Focus on you.
 
8. Set Deadlines to Help You Stop Wasting Time
Deadlines are keeping accountability with yourself. Set realistic deadlines for you to complete your activities.  Deadlines help you to stop wasting time as you’re forced to focus on meeting your commitment.
 
Wise Benjamin Franklin built deadlines into the 5 Hour Rule by advocating for one hour per day. Remember, fences make great neighbors and deadlines make for happy and productive entrepreneurs.
 
9. Set Goals
The most successful and productive people have goals. Lack of goals translates into being directionless. You’re that proverbial ship without rudder without goals. Goals give you purpose which translates into passion and direction.
 
10. Do One Thing
The research is in, and multitasking is great for computer and lousy for humans. Do one thing at a time. Focus on what you’re doing and stay with it until completed.
 
11. Stop Wasting Time, Start Doing and Start Being
I saved the most important for last. This strategy is a post in and of itself.  Life is not about doing, life is about being.
 
Be in the moment. Focus on those around you. Take in your surroundings. Choose and expect to be happy moment-by-moment.
 
As simple as this sounds, this one strategy takes your enjoyment of life to the next level. The world is a beautiful place. The only catch is being present to you and your surroundings.
 
Stop Wasting Time So You Can Skyrocket Your Success
Love it or hate it, technology has created a new economy where competition is global and fierce.
 
The winners will win big. And to win requires you to master two things. First, the ability to learn hard things fast. Second, produce at an elite level with both quality and speed.
 
 
The best time to be an entrepreneur is right now. Opportunities are everywhere. That said, you need to know where to look and how to respond.
 
But know this. Focus your time and do this well. Find and solve a problem affecting a large number of people. Through helping enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.
So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and prosper.
 
Here’s to you and your success.
 
With My Warmest Regards,
 
 
Jeffrey Feldberg
 
Quote of the Day: “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale
 
Success Resources
Cal Newport’s book Deep Work is a must read for every entrepreneur. Channel your talent and success through focus.
Amazon US – http://jef.tips/X8WaY
Amazon Canada – http://jef.tips/jKBcp
 
 
Benjamin Franklin and the 5 Hour Rule
 
Infographic for Time Spent On Social
 

Gloria Mark article on Cost of Interrupted Work

The RescueTime program

StayFocused app for Chrome

Article by the One Thing Team – How to Stop Multitasking to Boost Your Productivity

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