Category Archives: white page communications

10 Unconventional Habits to Live Distraction-Less

by Joshua Becker : Becoming Minimalist

“Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.” — Ann Voskamp

Our world has become a constant feed of information, noise, and entertainment. Our phones live not just in our pockets, but in front of our eyes. The influence of the Internet and its constant stream of information is accessible from nearly corner of our world. Breaking news breaks into our day at breakneck speed. And we are fed messages relentlessly from advertisements on nearly every flat surface. Each distraction enters our mind with one goal: Gain control of our attention and resources.

As a result, we live distracted lives and our ability to focus, create, and accomplish suffers significantly. It is increasingly clear that distractions are not going away on their own. Instead, the responsibility is ours to live attentive, intentional lives in a world of distraction. This is a goal we must continue to seek.

living-with-less-distraction

To live life with less distraction, consider implementing one or more of these 10 unconventional habits:

1. Turn off smart phone notifications. Our smart phones have quickly become one of the greatest sources of distraction in our lives. The average person now checks their mobile phone 150 times every day (just short of every 6 waking minutes). To limit the distractive nature of your smart phone, turn off all nonessential notifications (Email, Facebook, Twitter, Games, etc.) as a default setting. As a result, you will be able to check your apps on your schedule at appropriate times throughout the day.

2. Read/Answer email only twice each day. When we keep our email client open all day, we surrender our attention to the most recent bidder rather than the most important. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we understand why the habit of checking email only twice/day is promoted over and over again by some of the most productive people in our world today (Michael HyattScott BelskyLeo Babauta). Schedule your email processing. You will feel the benefits immediately as the habit instantly limits incoming distraction.

3. Complete 1-2 minute projects immediately. Our lives and minds are often cluttered and distracted by the many unfinished projects around us (unanswered email, household chores, financial responsibilities). Fortunately, many of these projects can be completed in far less time than we think. To live with less distraction, if a project can be completed in less than 2 minutes, adopt a “one-minute-rule” mentality.

4. Remove physical clutter. Unnecessary clutter is a significant form of visual distraction. Consider this: everything in our eyesight subtly pulls at our attention at least a little. And the more we remove, the less visual stress and distraction we experience. Clear your desk, your walls, your counters, and your home of unneeded possessions. You’ll be surprised at your newfound ability to focus.

5. Clear visible, distracting digital clutter. Just like physical clutter distracts our attention, digital clutter accomplishes the same. Desktop icons, open programs, and other visible notifications jockey for unannounced attention in our mind. Notice the digital triggers that grab your attention. And ruthlessly remove them.

6. Accept and accentuate your personal rhythms. Discover the rhythms of your day to make the most of them. For example, I do my best creative work in the morning, afternoons work well for busy-work, and evenings are set aside for family—leaving late evenings for entertainment, rest, and guilt-free distraction. Accepting and understanding our natural rhythms to the day/week provides healthy motivation to remove distractions during our most productive parts of the day knowing there is opportunity later to indulge them

7. Establish a healthy morning routine. Henry Ward Beecher once said,“The first hour is the rudder of the day.” He was absolutely right. Begin your days on your terms apart from distraction. If possible, wake first in your household. Drink your coffee or tea or fix yourself a warm breakfast. Journal or read or just enjoy the silence. Develop a distraction-free morning routine. It will lay the foundation for a less-distracted day.

8. Cancel cable / Unplug television. It is difficult to argue against the distracting nature of our television. Researchers tell us the average American watches 37-40 hours of television each week. There is, of course, a solution to this madness: unplug your television completely. But if this step seems too drastic a stretch for your family, you’ll never regret the simple decision to cancel cable. Your calendar will thank you for the extra time available. Your wallet will thank you for the extra dollars. And you’ll quickly wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

9. Keep a to-do list. One of the most helpful and practical pieces of advice I ever received about keeping focus is the simple solution of keeping a to-do list handy and current. No matter how hard you try to manage yourself, new responsibilities and opportunities will surface in your mind from internal and external sources. The opportunity to quickly write down the task allows it to be quickly discarded from your mind. I use Clear as a simple, easy-to-use opportunity list.

10. Care less what other people think. The value of your life is not measured by the number of likes your Facebook post receives or the number of positive comments on your blog post. Please understand, there is great value in humbly seeking opinion and appreciating the wise counsel of those who love you. But there is no value in wasting mental energy over thenegative criticism of those who only value their own self-interests. Learn to recognize the difference. And stop living distracted over the opinion of people who don’t matter.

There is little doubt our world is filled with constant distraction—it always has been. And there is little doubt that those who achieve the greatestsignificance in life learn to manage them effectively—they always have.

Image: Richard Ruzsa

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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15 reasons to feel great about being a publicist

15 reasons to feel great about being a publicist

PR is a unique career.

PR executives have made it into the list of the 10 most stressful jobs in America for the past three years. It’s a profession that can break people.

Still, if you are motivated, can check your ego at the door, possess strong attention to detail, and can multitask better than a plate spinner, it can be infinitely rewarding.
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Here’s why it’s cool to be a publicist:

1. We preserve people’s stories in a lasting way. People may lose material objects, but articles live online, in scrapbooks, and on Mom’s Facebook page. We make that happen.

2. We are the rainmakers. We move the economy, getting people to spend by creating excitement about our clients and getting the public to buy stuff. That creates jobs and bolsters commerce.

3. We’re the ever-patient go-betweens. We are the intermediaries who manage the personalities of press and client. We deal with the churlish reporter and the narcissistic celebrity, and neither ever knows the other’s difficult nature; that’s our gratifying little secret.

4. What other job lets you know what’s going to happen in advance, and usually before the press even knows? If you’re an exceedingly curious person, PR is for you. Publicists usually have the scoop on breaking news.

5. The job title has cachet. Clients love to say, “Meet my publicist.” There’s intrinsic value in the sentence.

6. How about those benefits? You might handle the PR for a large law firm, but it comes in handy to know the trade when volunteering your PR expertise for a local homeless shelter, your kids’ school, or your church. You look and feel like a superstar.

7. We have superpowers, but like Superman, we use them responsibly. “Don’t make me wield my social media knife, neighborhood dry cleaner. I’m a publicist.”

8. We can’t turn their brains off, and that’s a good thing. Publicists look at the world in a creative way. We’re identifying trends that have a link to our clients, looking at new communication channels to disseminate information, and identifying different ways to present information that will excite the public. A topsy-turvy Willie Wonka way of perceiving life keeps publicists young.

9. We are good conversationalists. Working in PR, you always have the best “insider” stories of how things sometimes did not quite transpire the way that you’d expected—though often better, and sometimes worse. You’ll be a hit at your cousin’s wedding table recounting your best moments.

10. The side effects. They may include attending gala press openings, meeting childhood heroes, business trips to swank destinations, and a lot of freebie promotional items.

11. We’ll never forget the first time our article or photo ended up in The New York Times.Publicists must be strong writers, and sometimes you hit the jackpot and a media outlet posts your press release verbatim.

12. There is no better feeling than introducing something wonderful to the world. Your clients become your “babies.” You nurture them, introduce them to the public, and watch them grow. Publicists are like parents in that way.

13. We can multitask and problem-solve like nobody’s business. You can figure out what to do in a pinch and always know whom to call (and sometimes you’re on more than one phone at a time). You’re skilled at talking, typing, and texting simultaneously.

14. We aren’t afraid to take risks. Big ideas often mean more press. You have to have an element of fearlessness and a lot of inspiration to “make it work.”

15. No day is ever the same. Repetition is boring. At a PR firm, every day is full of surprises.

By Noreen Heron and Kate Hughes
Noreen Heron is president at Noreen Heron & Associates, Inc., where Kate Hughes works as a senior account executive. Based in Chicago, the full-service agency primarily handles hospitality, entertainment, and restaurant clients. Follow it on Twitter @heronpr. A version of this story first appeared on the agency’s blog.