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Busy busy busy busy. And that phone keeps vibrating and making noise. You get out of Flow.
Don’t know what flow is?
Ever had an experience of time just flowing by without you noticing. When it feels like you’ve been doing something for 5 minutes and all of a sudden 2 hours have passed?
That is Flow.
Flow is a state of mind where we are fully absorbed in the present activity.
Research has shown that people who experience flow more often live longer. It’s also a great way to be more productive and be more mindful.
Sadly, our phones and their notifications keep interrupting.
In this short article, we’ll show you how to set up your iPhone to make sure you don’t get disturbed when you don’t want to. The goal is to achieve and sustain your state of flow more often and to ultimately be more productive.
We will explain 2 things
- How to use Do Not Disturb
- How to tweak Notifications so they don’t bother you.
Do not disturb
iPhones have a Do Not Disturb function. Toggle it on from the control centre (swipe up from the bottom of your screen) or from the settings app.
If I really want to get shit done, this is how I do it. Sadly, this isn’t always an option in a fast paced environment like my job. People need to be able to reach me sometimes so some calls have to be able to get through.
You can add people to a group (via the Contacts app) and allow this group to bypass Do Not Disturb or let people who call you twice within 3 minutes to come through:
Another option is Emergency bypass which is reached from the contacts or phone app by clicking on the Ringtone menu:
It also helps in conditioning other people to value your time. Teach the people around you not to call for things that can be done via email. Simply asking them to “shoot you a quick email to remind you” might help.
Using iOS’ built in sms replies for incoming calls is an easy way to do this. Among others I have one that says “cant pick up, please sms or email”. This changes a long distraction (phone call) to a brief one (tap respond with text and choose this reply).
A screen lighting up, a sound or the vibration of your phone. Each on its own is enough to take your mind off of your task and out of flow. Simply turning off the notifications is something I don’t recommend because sometimes you want to know what’s up.
Here is how I set up the notifications of apps like Messages, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram for maximum flow:
This way you can still unlock your phone and see what’s going on (the red badge numbers will still be there) but you won’t get disturbed by the light, sound and vibration 🙂
How do you tweak your phone’s settings to help flow or productivity? Let us know, we might learn a thing or two and might even update this article!
By the way, did you know flow is a mindfulness technique? 😉
It’s december. The new year is right around the corner.
Millions of people will make tens of millions of so called new year’s resolutions. The start of a grand plan to change their life for the better. Think of all the “I’ll get fit” and “I’ll quit smoking” ‘s you hear around this time of the year. One might even aim to read more books..
Too bad most people hardly ever get past the resolution-stage. Why is that?
One simple reason is that people are creatures of habit.
In this article we’ll help you conquer these giant new year’s resolution mountains through the use of technology and habit hacking.
We’ll talk about three things in this article:
- How a habit works
- How to create or change a habit
- How to use technology in the process.
To finish up the article we have some practical examples from our own lives.
Sidenote: If you’ve already read a lot about habits, skip to Habit hacking 2.0
How habits work
In the simplest terms, habits work like this:
A cue triggers a routine in the hope of getting a reward.
- Cue: We enter the kitchen and see the fridge
- Routine: We open the fridge or cupboard and stuff our faces
- Reward: Sweet sweet sugary hapiness
Optional guilty feelings after.
That’s it. Easy as that. Can you think of a habit from your daily life and figure out the cues and routines?
This short explanation is all we need to know for this article. If you want to know more, check out our book page on The Power of Habit or read the book yourself. 😉
Creating or changing habits
Creating a new habit
If you want to create a new habit, the easiest way to do it is to pair it to an existing habit or cue/trigger. We’re in the habit of not reinventing the wheel, so check the following infographic. It’s not ours, but it explains it all.
BTW: keep in mind you want to avoid using rewards that might turn into “bad habits” in the long term.
Changing a habit
We can use the same principles to change a habit. This time however, we want to change the rewards from negative to positive. For example, taking a walk instead of smoking a cigarette. The following infographic from Charles Duhigg’s website explains it in more detail:
Habit hacking 2.0
Most of us have a smartphone that has basic location awareness & a clock and/or alarm. These 2 basic functions can be used to vastly increase our success rate in creating or changing habits.
Create a location or time based daily reminder that you can use as a cue. After a while you can delete them because the habit will be ingrained in your daily life. iPhone users can use the Reminders app or any other task manager with basic functionality:
You can also use your smartphone calendar. For example, plan your week on Sunday and make sure the time slots for your workouts are blocked/filled including travel time and time you need to prepare or shower afterwards.
Figure out for yourself what works best for your life. Everyone is different so what works for one person might not for the other.
Examples from our own lives
I take supplements like vitamin D, magnesium and fish oil. I used to forget this every day. I set a daily reminder “when I arrive home” to take them. Now I don’t need the reminder because arriving home became the cue to trigger this habit.
My favorite example is how I got to read more books. It’s actually twofold: read more books & listen to more audiobooks. I’ve read/listened to over a hundred books this year alone, so apparently it worked. 🙂
I put a book next to my toilet, sofa and bed. Every time I took a seat or got in bed I read 1 page.
Just 1. Easy Peasy. Even when I’m suuuuuper tired (or even drunk), 1 page before going to sleep is easy. Now I probably read around 10 or more pages every night. Multiply by (almost) 365 and you actually read a lot on a yearly basis!
Audiobooks. We love them because they are sooooo easy. I started listening in the car, doing housework and cooking. I listen to around 3 every week. Now when I’m not listening to one in my car or when vacuüming it feels weird!
So, give it a shot! BTW don’t wait for the new year to start with your project 😉 Start now!
If you want some further reading on habit hacking, check out this article by FastForwardAmy on Willpower hacking or our own, previously referenced book review on The Power of Habit (it has some youtube video’s for the lazy).
What habits will you try to create or change and how did this article help? Let us know 😉
A while back, we gave a workshop to a bunch of students about applying for jobs.
Throughout this session, we’ve zoomed in on four topics related to ‘the job hunt’.
1. What is important. Why is importanter
Most people have some sense of what they want to do.
“I want to be a stock broker”, or whatever.
That’s fine, more than fine actually, but if you can’t answer the question “Why do you want to be a stock broker”, you might have some thinking to do.
The what matters, the why matters more.
2. They want you. Want them too?
Let’s get one things straight, companies are constantly looking for great people. Companies that are not looking for great people are companies you don’t want to work for anyway.
You are great at what you do. Nothing wrong with a little self-confidence.
Especially when the alternative is a lack thereof.
Reverse the reasoning and ask yourself: “Alright, so I’ve got this offer, but do I really want to work here?”. Don’t jump at the first offer you get. Learn from others’ mistakes.
3. How do you do? The interview.
Well, long story short, don’t be a dick and don’t make a fool of yourself.
Check out “How to win friends and influence people”, by Dale Carnegie.
4. Grow, grow, grow, your boat.
So you got the job, congratulations. Now what?
Keep growing, your own boat and the boat you’re in. Do all you can to keep learning and to push your organisation forward.
Throughout the workshop, we’ve tried to give as many home-grown examples as possible, coupled with some practical tips and personal experiences. Besides that, we listed a selection of books to read about each topic.
Click the link below if you want to get our summarized powerpoint presentation:
“80% of success is showing up.” Don’t take our word for is, it’s Woody Allen who once said this.
How do you define success? I see two important parts.
The first is success in handling yourself and your own actions. In my eyes, this is what the quote is about. The second part is success in dealing with others, because no one can really be successful without the help of others.
| Success in handling yourself
1. Take action. Get things done. Don’t postpone.
Ideas are important, but without execution, without taking action, there’s nothing to them.
Get the action habit, as David Schwartz puts it in his book ‘The magic of thinking big’ – must read by the way. There is one success ingredient often missing in people, and that is the ability to get things done, to get results. We’ve all heard people say ‘well I thought of Facebook before it even existed’. Too bad you didn’t do anything about it. For every Mark Zuckerberg, there’s at least a couple thousand would-be’s, who just didn’t take action. In your personal life, don’t be the guy who thinks it would be a great idea to get back in touch with an old friend, but keeps postponing the call. Get in the habit of taking action, or prepare to have a lot of regrets a couple of years down the road.
2.Keep learning. Never stop.
Successful people never reach the point where unsuccessful people say: “Now I know enough”. Try to learn something new every day. Stay up to date on changes in your field, but also look outside the areas you’re familiar with. Keep broadening your view and keep an open mind. Never act like you know it all.
3. Embrace change
Unsuccessful people are often afraid of change. A successful person realises that change is the only way forward and is not intimidated by the need to learn new things. They actually thrive in this context. Get in the habit of being enthusiastic about change instead of reverting to fear and resistance.
| Success in dealing with others
4. Take responsibility for your failures
Whether you make a small mistake or screw up bigtime, take responsibility and don’t make excuses. Never blame others for your failure.
5. Forgive others when they mess up
Don’t hold grudges, forgive others when they come to you.
6. Talk about ideas instead of gossiping about people
There’s a quote floating around the internet, no idea where it originally comes from – but that doesn’t really matter, does it? It goes: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Think about this. It makes sense. Do your best to eliminate gossip from your conversations and move to the interesting stuff.
7. Give compliments
Nobody ever lost something by making another person feel good. I’m not saying you should make up stuff. When I say ‘Give compliments’, I mean you should give sincere, honest appreciation. Unsuccessful people are quick to criticise, and rarely compliment others. Successful people are exactly the opposite.
8. Do everything you can to help others succeed
Unsuccessful people want others to fail, makes them feel a bit better about themselves. Successful people do everything they can to help others succeed. There’s nothing to gain from other people’s failure, perhaps in the short term, but definitely not in the long term.
We all do it. When we have some time on our hands, we take our cellphones out and start doing some random stuff.
We thought it’d be nice to share our favorite apps to fill five minutes of spare time, without wasting those five minutes looking at pictures of cats on 9gag. To be honest, we also enjoy the occasional kitten, but we think it’s best to get in the habit of systematically being productive when you have time on your hands, instead of systematically wasting that time.
So, that being said, here’s our favorite apps to do just that.
As we’ve said before, and we’ll probably say a thousand times more, Audible has changed our lives. Audible lets you listen to audiobooks on your cellphone. Whenever I have a few minutes, for example when I’m walking from my car to wherever I need to be, I listen to 5 minutes of my current read.
We’ve only recently discovered StumbleUpon ourselves, but it’s currently our second-most used app. In short, you tell the app which topics you’re interested in and whenever you click the Stumble button, the app finds a new article to read that fits within your interests. Seems to work really well for us. The app also allows you to store your favorite ‘Stumbles’ in lists for later use.
Quora is basically a forum of (mostly) very smart people that ask eachother questions and provide eachother with high-quality answers. Just like on StumbleUpon, Quora allows you to select your interests and curates the content for you. You’ll also be able to join the discussion and provide your own answers or ask a ton of questions you’ve always wanted to know the answer to.
Basically, Wunderlist is a to do list – but a really good one. Wunderlist has an app, desktop and online version, which all integrate seamlessly.
Slack is a great way to communicate within teams. It’s basically a combination of skype, whatsapp and dropbox. Same here, Slack has an app, desktop and online version which all work perfectly.
The route to a better you
Before we get you on your way, we thought it good to explain why we built this site.
Overall, we hope to show you a productive way of spending your free time, other than just watching television.
We like to read books, a lot of books, primarily focused on self-improvement. We’ve always found it hard to find the next book to read and that’s why we decided to build ReadRoute.com.
On ReadRoute.com, we’ll aim to guide you through the immense amount of available content and show you where to find the good stuff. We intend to provide you an overview of the books we liked the most, but also show you where to find blogs worth reading, youtube channels worth subscribing to and ted talks worth watching.
Readroute.com will aim to serve as your filter to find quality content, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes we made (spend 10 hours reading a book that’s not worthwile).
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any remarks or ideas, we read every mail and really appreciate the feedback.