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I spent the first week of 2019 on the Disney Fantasy, cruising the Carribbean, soaking up rays and eating my weight in pineapple and watermelon. It was a blissful 7 days at sea, as we opted out of any type of data plan. My phone wouldn’t load a text message even if I tried my hardest — and believe me, I tried. The social media notification withdraw is rough, y’all.

But after a few days, I learned to love the peace and quiet and gradually ignore the inner monologue that begged me to refresh just one. more. time.

As soon as I stepped foot back into port, I instinctively reached for my phone to check Facebook, and found nothing of interest. Literally 90 seconds later, I grabbed my phone again and started the scroll. Something clicked at that moment, and I decided to delete Facebook from my phone all together.

The constant crush of flashing red badges, rings and beeps can, at their best, be an annoying distraction for reaching your daily goals, and at their worst, a contributing factor to anxiety. Although my business is almost entirely online, and I coach others whose businesses are almost entirely online, I’ve found that switching off the constant stream of notifications not only focus on what I need to do, but also to keep my mind balanced and calm.

Focus on What’s Important

When we’re constantly connected to social media, everything becomes the most important thing. Each new like or comment or mention becomes your top priority. Here’s what’s up: none of it is that important. What are you missing out on when you’re checking notifications? It could be time with your family, time you could spend being creative, or time you could be spending on other income producing activities.

Take a few days and commit to being more intentional with your social media activity. It will take some extra awareness on your part, but will help you see what notifications you need to cut.

Turn Off Notifications

This one is a classic case of out of sight, out of mind. Once I disabled notifications, things started changing for my business. I disabled Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messanger, and Twitter, and moved other things into a folder on the second or third page of my phone. I kept only the essentials for managing my business on my smartphone on the homescreen so I wouldn’t have to search for something and accidently see a notification. I was simply breaking a bad habit, and after a few days, I noticed I was able to focus more on the tasks at hand while getting more done during my work time.

I’ve realized another culprit is email. We live in a world where email feels urgent, and for most issues, that’s not the case. If you can’t break the social media habits just yet, start wtih your email: turn off those alerts and close your email app while you’re focusing.

Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is one of the biggest roadblocks to true productivity. Bottom line: it simply isn’t feasible. Our brains are not wired at all for multitasking. A speaker I heard recently explained  our brains while multitasking like a lightbulb. We think we can work with both lights on, but in reality, our brain is turning each individual light on and off and on and off hundreds of times. This type of thinking not only depletes your energy, but it also makes you less efficient — and helps you retain less information.

Start small. Start a timer for 15 minutes and work on one income producing activity at a time. Don’t check your phone, email, or messages until you’re done. When you’re ready for longer stretches of “tasking”, try listening to some soft instrumental music (Spotify Focus playlists are my favorite!) Slowly but surely, you’ll start retraining your brain to ignore the distractions ( especially those flashing, dinging distractions) and be more productive than ever.

None of this is easy, especially when you feel like ignoring what’s happening on social medica can negatively effect your business. However, ignoring the fluff and committing to what can help your business thrive will change the game. It’s not easy, but it’s so, so worth it.