Stop It!

Stop It

Hey everyone,

Shaun McCloskey here…

Because people see that I lead a productive life, I’m often asked questions like these:

“Shaun, tell me how can I fit more into my life? How can I have more happiness, more joy? How can I accomplish more, have more, be more, live more?”

I tell people that if you want to add more, you need to begin by taking away some of the things in your life that you don’t want or make you less productive. Here’s what I mean by that.

Drastic Change

I recently did something that drastically changed:

  • my focus;
  • my ability to get things done;
  • my ability to impact other people; and
  • my ability to live in the moment.

Sounds impressive, right? But it wasn’t all that difficult to do. I did this by getting rid of things in my life that were creating distractions.

But to further clarify this decision and its effects, let me backtrack just a moment…

Thousands of Distracting Minutes

A few years ago I made the decision to stop giving out my cell number for business purposes. In fact, at the present time, I don’t even have a cell phone that I use for business. I made this decision because back then, my cell phone was ringing all the time; I was spending thousands of minutes a month just talking on my cell.

I realized that that was taking me away from other things that were much more important to me.

I would answer a call, which meant I had to interrupt whatever I was in the middle of doing. That may have been working on music recording, which I love to do…. Or I might have been out having dinner with my wife… Or I might have been in the middle of working a solid business deal and a call would interrupt and distract me.

I answered the phone because it was a business call, and I thought that I couldn’t afford to miss out on that business. But the call then distracted me from the moment I was already experiencing. Once I made the decision to answer the call, it then required considerable effort to get back to the place where I was before being interrupted.

Difficult Mind Shift

Now I’m aware there are a lot of people who think you can do two things at once. Multitasking they like to call it.

I don’t think that’s possible.

By the time I took the call and addressed the situation that was there, I would have to work to get my mind back to the place where it had been prior to the call.

The mind shift that has to happen is not always easy to accomplish. Sometimes you lose it altogether. This is especially true if you are using your creative abilities – the juices are flowing and you’re in the zone – then WHACK, it’s broken.

Instant Change

Because of that discovery – that realization – I got rid of the cell phone. I got a new number and gave it only to my closest family members and friends, and never again used it for business.

I saw my life change literally overnight.

It took time to make the adjustment. The first day I hardly knew what to do with myself because my phone wasn’t ringing 400 times. I had to learn how to not answer the phone. (Because prior to this, even if I let a call go, I was still distracted by worrying whether or not I had missed a good deal.)

One of the first things I learned was that I wasn’t losing out on any business opportunities. (I had other ways to capture business calls and deal with them on my time schedule.) The next thing I learned was how to reroute that time into more productive endeavors.

After I made this shift, the quality of my life dramatically improved.

Now my phone is simply a tool for my business that is used at certain hours during the day. This happened, as I mentioned, a couple of years ago.

Fast Forward

Now fast forward to about a month or so ago, and I was thinking about the same thing. I decided that rather than trying to gain more in my life, I began to search for other things that were taking away from my quality of life.

What things needed to be addressed at this moment in time that perhaps I had not looked at in a while? Two things came to mind:

Distraction #1

I still have a phone, only now it’s a fancy little iPhone that has the ability to do so many awesome things like capture emails and such. The problem was that since email was now coming to my phone, I was checking my phone 20+ times a day. As a matter of fact, when I woke up in the morning, I looked at my phone first thing to check my email. LAME.

Now it’s quite possible that reading an email on my phone first thing in the morning could change the direction of my day away from what I had previously planned… Or it could have changed my mood. Unfortunately, many times the latter is exactly what happened.

Distraction #2

Email was the first issue with my phone; the second issue was Facebook. Now I have to admit, I like Facebook. I enjoy checking in with family and friends, but it got to the point where I was checking my Facebook newsfeed while I was stopped in traffic at the stoplight. Not good.

I believe this is happening to many people these days. We are so used to relying on these little machines every moment of the day that it becomes a constant distraction.

It’s a distraction that can steal you away from the present moment.

My Experiment

After I took stock of what was actually happening, I tried a little experiment.

I first got rid of email and Facebook on my phone. Once I did that, I created within my daily schedule a specifically set time to check email and Facebook posts. It is now the last thing I do at the close of my workday, usually around three in the afternoon. I still get to emails every day, but the difference is I’m in control. I’m not checking them multiple times a day. Same goes with Facebook.

In the few weeks that I have tried this experiment, I noticed that;

  • I’ve been more focused.
  • I’ve produced more.
  • I’m more present than I’ve been in a long time.

Eliminate Time-Eaters

Instead of thinking about what more you want in life, begin to take inventory and see what time-eaters need to be eliminated.

Just try one thing at a time and see if you don’t become more focused and much more in the moment without those constant distractions. As a natural byproduct, you’ll have more, because time will be freed up for more to be accomplished – for more to happen.

Thoughts, Questions…

Have you tried this in your own life? Were you surprised at the results? I wanna hear from you in the comments section below.

  • Determine what you want your daily life to look like.
  • Search out time-eaters that are sucking the life out of your day.
  • List ways these time-eaters can be reduced (eliminate cold turkey or reschedule).

Review every 3 to 6 months to ensure the time-eaters haven’t re-emerged in a different form.

Shaun McCloskey is a Real Estate Investor, Coach and Lifeonaire in St Louis and his team will be speaking at the January 12th MAREI Meeting and returning to Kansas City for a 3 Day Lifeonaire Retreat the first week in March.  Be sure to visit the MAREI Calendar to learn more.