109. How to Minimize Your #1 Distraction – Your Phone!

We have plenty of time. How do we know? Because we’re all granted the same 24 hours. Some people get So. Much. Done. and others… well, they flounder, feel behind, and struggle to stay on top of things.

If you’re like me and have been in that 2nd group more than you’d like to admit, I’ve got the perfect podcast for you today!

One of the easiest ways to get some time back is to minimize distractions – particularly our phones.   Although our phones are highly useful tools, they can also be a huge distraction to getting to things done.

In this episode of the podcast, I am sharing some of my most helpful tips to help you minimize this distraction to help you get some of your precious time back. Enjoy! xo, Janeen

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Well, Hey there, my friends. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am Janeen Alley, and I am super excited to be with you guys today talking about one of my very favorite things. It’s about how to minimize distractions. So in my quest, [00:01:00] as a podcaster and as a business owner to help you feel more peacefully productive in your life with less stress and less burnout, I know for me, one of the things that has really been helpful is understanding and being open to this idea that I have plenty of time to get things done. How do I know this? Well it’s because everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

And there’s some people who kill it with their productivity. They get so many things done and not a lot of things ruffle their feathers. They don’t get stressed out. They kind of cruise through their life. Right. I know that’s not very many of you, but there are people who live in that space And then there are most people who feel like they’re so busy. Time is scarce. They feel so slammed. They’re scatterbrained, they’re fragmented with their energy and they never feel like they have enough time to get things done.

I want more people who feel stress and burnout, To move over into the peacefully [00:02:00] productive camp over here, where I’m hanging out, cuz it’s a pretty fun place to be. But there are two things that have to happen. There’s a mindset shift that has to happen.

And there’s also tactical strategies that you can implement to help you get more time back. And although I’m talking about a tactical strategy today, I’m talking about how to physically minimize distractions, particularly with your phone, I want you to be open to the idea that you have more time than you think.

And I remember the very first time that someone offered this thought to me, I’m like, are you kidding me? You have no idea what’s going on in my life. So if you’re there right now, I understand, but I want you to just start playing around with the idea that you have more time during the day than you think; you have plenty of time to get things done.

Another thing that I wanna just offer to you right here is there are many times that I don’t get the things done that are on my list. However, I have a tendency and I have a habit of packing [00:03:00] more things in to the amount of time that I have.

I call this time optimism. I feel like I can physically get more done than I actually have time for during the day. that’s a podcast for another day, but I want you thinking to yourself, what would my life feel like? What would it be like if I truly did have plenty of time to get everything done that I need to, because that is true.

You actually have plenty of time to get things done. And I know this because this is my life. I have plenty of time to get things done and it’s my life, because this is a thought I choose to believe . So you might not believe it yet. And that’s okay. I just want you to consider that this is a possibility for your life.

This is something I consciously choose to believe, and it has become more and more true the more I practice this thought. So we are talking about how to minimize our number one distraction today, which is our telephones . And I think it’s pretty safe to say that for most [00:04:00] of us, this is our number one distraction.

And if this is not you, if you have other distractions or you don’t get distracted at all, more power to you, you probably don’t need to be listening to this episode. but the truth is is our phones are kind of like food. We need to have them. And I know need is subjective here, but they’re super handy to have.

And I’m not willing to give up my phone altogether. However, we definitely need to cut back. Definitely need to cut back on our phone time so that we can start having more control over our schedule and feel more intentional with the time that we have been gifted. And I know for a long time, I kind of had this love, hate relationship with my phone because it is so convenient and yet it’s super distracting.

All of us, I think have had experiences getting sucked into the cell phone black hole, where we mindlessly scroll and we tell ourselves I haven’t been on here for very long. We think we’ve only been on the internet, Instagram, whatever it is for 10 or 15 [00:05:00] minutes and it turns out 45 minutes to an hour of time has gone by.

And we’re like, oh my gosh, I was supposed to be doing something else. And yet here we are an hour later.

one of the things that I tell my kids all the time is you bought that phone for my convenience. So when I need to get a hold of you, you need to answer your phone. And this is true because I am their parent , but this is also true for us and that our phones are for our convenience, not for everyone else’s. And I think you’d agree with me that you are not here to be entertained and you do want to have more control and more intention with your time. And so let’s start with talking about how to minimize our phones as a distraction.

This is something that we’re all learning how to do. I remember as a kid, back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, at least that’s the way my kids think about it. Pre cell phone. We had a phone in our kitchen that hung on the wall and of course it [00:06:00] had one job and of course it stayed there. Now our phones have many, many jobs and we can carry them around in our pocket. And like I said, super useful. We don’t wanna eliminate these things. But they are super distracting cuz they’ve got these bells and whistles and alerts and I feel like my phone is sometimes just whispering my name in the corner of the room where it is sitting just like, “Janeen come on over here.”

So I know that it is a habit for me to pick up my phone and to see what’s going on over there. Just to check, to see if anybody has texted me or if anybody has reached out. But the truth is what happens to our brains when we pick up our phone and there is something that we are interested in seeing over there.

We get a little hit of dopamine every time that that happens. We all do this. This is the way that we are wired. The things that I’m sharing with you today in the podcast are things that I [00:07:00] have to have constant maintenance over.

This is something that requires constant vigilance on my part to manage myself around my phone. So this is probably not the first time that you’re hearing this, that our phones are addictive. If you have children, you may have even said that to them, but. It’s true. And it’s not just true for our kids, but it’s true for us as well.

Our phones are designed to keep us on longer because our time and attention is their product. And when I’m talking about “their”, I’m talking about Facebook or Google or wherever we’re hanging out. The longer that we can hang out on a platform whether it’s Google, someone’s blog, our Facebook account, the more money they can make off of us. Because every time we click on an ad it’s money in their pocket. And I know this because I run ads so I can see how much my cost per click is, how much I’m paying for somebody to actually just click my ad. Most of the [00:08:00] time somebody is making money off of that. So it is in their best interest to keep us on our phones longer. It’s actually called the slot machine effect where we have these intermittent rewards that keep us scrolling and keep us going on our phones. So it’s not just for our kids, it’s for us as well.

And we are on our phones for so many different reasons, right? It’s a miracle, really how much power is in such a tiny little device. We talk on our phones. Of course we text. We game, we watch YouTube. We listen to our podcasts, we’ve got social media, we connect with our friends on our phones. We wake up to our phones.

We go to bed with our phones. We eat meals with our phones. I mean, they are always with us. And although each of us is really unique in our phone use, there was a recent study that was done that estimated Americans are on their phones for over five hours a day. Now my friends, if you add up five hours a day and you sandwich them together in a year, that is [00:09:00] 76 days in a year.

I did not say that incorrectly five hours a day, 365 days a year totals 76 days out of the year. That is back to back to back. There’s no potty breaks. there’s no snacks. There’s no sleeping in that 76 days. That’s total time. That’s over two months of a year that we spend on our phone. And most of the distractions that are on our phones are harmless.

But the problem is that they keep us from focusing in on the things that are most important to us. Okay. So before I get into how to manage these distractions, I wanna talk to you about time for a moment. And this goes back to Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And inside of this book, he talks about the time management matrix.

And I know most of you are listening to the podcast and you’re not able to see a visual. So I’m actually gonna describe this to [00:10:00] you so hopefully that you can kind of picture what this is. And I, my son just started practicing the piano, of course. So if you can hear him it’s nice little background music for the podcast today.

So the reason why I’m bringing this up and talking about the time management matrix. is because for me, it’s been super helpful to just be able to discern what are the most important things, because I think for moms, it gets all jumbled together unless we’re intentionally thinking about the things that are most important to us, it’s tricky to do because for our brain, what gives us dopamine feels important subconsciously.

Our brain wants us to do more of those things and we do. And unless we’re super mindful of how we’re using our time, we end up getting sucked down things like the black hole cell phone vortex. so, as I’m explaining this, I’m gonna share some of the examples that I have in these quadrants.

And these are my examples and they might be different for you. [00:11:00] So I want you thinking about what examples from your life are going to fit inside of these quadrants. So in Stephen Covey’s time management matrix He describes quadrant one as things that are urgent and things that are important to us. So urgent and important things go in quadrant number one.

And so for me in my life, things that fit into Q1 are things like trips to the emergency room that’s urgent and that is important. Other things that fit in Q1 are things like caring for my kids, particularly when they were little and the things that they needed were urgent and they were important. Like food or keeping them clean or making sure that they didn’t get hurt.

Like those things were urgent and important. Those are some of the examples that I thought would fit in Q1.

Q2 things are things that are not urgent but important. And I want you paying special attention to things that are in Q2. So for me, this is growth and development. [00:12:00] This is my health. This is the way that I make a contribution to the world. And to my family, these of course are my relationships, creative outlets that I have, vacations.

All of those things are not urgent, but really important to me. I want you thinking about what could possibly be in your Q2. All right, now, Q3 are things that are urgent, but not important. So things that fit into this category for me are the carpool. Okay. I have to stop what I’m doing to take care of where my kids need to go, but it’s not super important to me.

My kids are important to me, but the carpool, like in the grant scheme of things, it’s not super important. I know from my kids like getting to where they want to go, feels probably more important than me thinking about the carpool. I totally get that. But for me, the carpool in and of itself is something that is urgent, but not important.

So. That would be an example of what goes in Q3. Other things that go in my Q3 are things like [00:13:00] some text messages, some emails, some kid drama, and then things that come up occasionally are things that are urgent, but not important. All right. Of course the fourth quadrant are things that are not urgent and not important.

You probably could have guessed that. Okay. Now things for me in Q4 are things like social media, right? You get a massive dopamine hit from scrolling on social media. Like I said, there’s all of these things that periodically give you a little hit of that dopamine keeps you scrolling, keeps you on there longer, but not urgent, not important.

Right? Other things that fit in my Q4 are most text messages. Most emails, most kid drama. again, there can be a lot of dopamine that happens in these things. Family drama, book clubs, not urgent, not important. I love a good book club, but not important. Right. Socializing. I dunno, for some of you book clubs and socializing do not fit in your Q4 and that’s totally fine.

This [00:14:00] is just where they are in my time matrix quadrant. Okay. And then most of the things that come up.. Now I am saying this to you, you might be like, okay, that was a lot of information. Yeah, I get it. I totally get it. But the reason why I’m bringing this up is because so often we think our Q4 activities fit inside of the other quadrants.

We think that they are Q1, Q2 and Q3 activities and they’re not, but they feel super important. Like I said, because oftentimes they’re easy and we get that quick dopamine hit. Our brain wants us to do more because our brain’s job is to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy. When our brain is on default, when it is operating subconsciously, those are the things that matter the most to our brain.

All three of these things, seeking pleasure, avoiding pain and conserving energy check out in Q4. Is there pleasure? A hundred [00:15:00] percent. Are we avoiding pain and taking an easy road? A hundred percent . Conserving energy. Yep. Things like sitting down on the couch, eating Bon Bons, watching Netflix Q4. Right.

And I know that you’re not doing that, but I want you to see how so often those Q4 things are creeping into our lives more than we want them to. And it takes up time and we are avoiding things in our Q2. Things that are important to us, but not urgent.

These are the things that are so easy for us to push to the back burner, to put off until later, sometimes way later.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, but yeah, but sometimes things really do come up Janeen and I get that, that used to be one of my favorite excuses to tell myself, but things just come up.

Well, the truth is on this side of learning all the things that I’ve learned about how to become peacefully productive, and really owning my time and doing a good job of scheduling my calendar and all of those [00:16:00] things. Things rarely come up anymore. And the reason why is because before, when I would tell myself that it really was a result of sloppy planning on my part.

I want you thinking about that and that the thing that’s good news about this is when you tell yourself that you can actually learn from that instead of being like, well, things just came up as if it was outside of your control. You want to be thinking about how can I do that better next time so that isn’t something that just pops up and becomes something that is urgent and not important in my life or something that feels urgent, but it’s not.

Okay. So let’s get into how to minimize the distraction of your phone, because most of those things that pop up my Q4 have to do with our phones. So how can we minimize that? How can we lessen our Q4?

The things that are not urgent, not important and make our Q2s things that happen [00:17:00] more often. So the first thing is to track your phone time. And we can do this with an app. We can do this with a weekly check in. I actually just use, I have an apple phone and there’s a feature on there that just tracks your phone time for you.

So you can see how much time you are on certain apps. And you can see what you were doing on your phone during the week. You can see it as a pie chart. you can see it as a graph. I mean, there’s lots of different ways that you can see this. You can see this by individual app and everything. So the way that I like to do this is I like to make this a game for myself. And I like to see if I can cut back on my phone time for the previous week. I do not like it when I get my little report. And it says your phone time has increased by 8% during the week. I’m like, oh, dang it! What happened? What happened this week? Now I do have to say here. That there are times in my life where this fluctuates and I let it be intentional.

So right now my phone time is actually pretty high because my husband is deployed. [00:18:00] And so I spend a couple times during the day FaceTiming him. That’s not normally the way that I spend my time, but I know it’s just for a short period of time. And so of course, I want to allow that in my life because I love my husband and I wanna connect with him.

I wanna see his cute little face. So I allow that time to be higher during certain periods of time. But most of the time I like to try and keep it under an hour and a half, two hours somewhere in that window of time, because I work out with my phone. I listen to podcasts, all of those things that are intentional, and I like that.

So you just get to decide for you there isn’t a right or wrong time. And for some of you, two hours might be high for some of you. You’re just like, there’s no way I could get it under two hours. That’s totally fine. I want you to just be intentional and the way that you are intentional is you’ve gotta know your numbers.

You have to track it. So track it. Be intentional.

Okay. Here’s my second tip. Put your phone in one room and leave it there. [00:19:00] Just like when we were kids, it just hung on the wall and you couldn’t take it anywhere unless you have one of those really long, long spirally phone cords that like wrapped around the house and you could talk in the bathroom or something if you wanted.

I remember a time where I would be away from the phone, like when I left the house. And so I do that. I take my dog for a walk and I leave my phone at home.. Or I work and I leave my phone in a different room so that I’m not distracted. Sometimes if I have my phone and I forgot to leave it somewhere, I’ll put my phone on airplane mode so that it’s not a distraction for me. And I know some of you are silently freaking out. like, leave your phone at home when you go for a walk, what if something happens to you? How many times have we left the house and nothing has happened? A lot. I know for some of you’re just like, but what about that one time?

That’s okay. If you’re concerned about that, of course you can take it with you [00:20:00] if you want to. But what I want to challenge you to do is to create distance between you and your phone, cuz most of the time nothing happens. Most of the time.

okay, the third point that I have is turn off notifications. Turn off notifications for your messages or emails or Facebook messenger.

I mean turn ’em all off. Turn. ’em all off. Set up message alerts for specific people, if you want to. I have that. Each of my kids have a different message tone so that when they text me, I know who it is. And I can probably guess what it is that they’re texting me about. I also have this set up for my husband when he calls. So no matter what time of day that he calls me, it will cut through whatever silencer that I have on my phone, just because he is deployed and things happen. So I want to be able to get up in the middle of the night with him. But that is not something I’ve ever had to do, which I feel really [00:21:00] fortunate about.

Okay. So the fourth tip is to reduce the number of apps that you have on your phone.

Do you want to have social media on your phone? I want you thinking about that. If you do have it on your phone, you can actually put a blocker for how much time that you’re spending on that app. You can do it for any app that you have on your phone, but if you’re not gonna reduce the number of apps that you have, you can at least put time restraints on your phone for yourself, so your phone will tell you how long that you’ve been on there.

I just have, as far as reducing the number of apps, I just have one screen on my phone. I don’t have screens of apps, so I’m not doing scroll, scroll, scroll with my thumb as I get over to figure out where I have apps on my phone. They’re just all on one screen so I can turn my phone on, I can see everything that I need to see on one screen and I can turn it off.

And that is helpful for several reasons for me. I get a little lost on my phone. I mean, I used to have multiple [00:22:00] screens and I’m like, I’m spending so much time trying to find an app on here, cuz I couldn’t remember which screen it was on. And number two, it keeps the number of apps that I have significantly reduced to what it was before.

So I have gotten rid of my kids’ games on my phone. I never played their games, but it was just things that would take up space on my phone. I have gotten rid of recipe apps. I’ve gotten rid of social apps. I’ve gotten rid of so many different things, just so that I can consolidate it all on one screen and everything that I feel like is most important on my phone is right there for me to see.

Okay. So I hope that that was helpful. And the last tip that I have for you is to give your phone a bedtime. This is one that is a little tricky for me again right now, just because Merrill’s gone, but I love to have an 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM bedtime for my phone where I’m not checking my phone after eight o’clock at night or before eight in the morning.

I know for some of you’re like what? You don’t check your phone [00:23:00] before eight in the morning? I don’t. And for me that is, first of all, it’s super easy to remember, cuz it’s just eight to eight, but it’s also super easy for me to follow through. I grew up in a house where we didn’t normally talk on the phone after 9:00 PM at night or before nine in the morning.

And so eight to eight is pretty easy for me to do, but see if, if eight to eight is impossible for you, maybe it’s like nine to six or something where you are challenging yourself to not be on your phone really late at night and not instantly get on your phone as soon as you wake up in the morning, that really is the point is that you are intentional and you’re mindful about the time that you’re like, all right, I don’t wanna be on my phone during these times this is time for me to focus on a morning devotional or spend time with my husband or , spend time with your kids, whatever it is that you’re doing during the day.

And again, even in nighttime mode on my phone, my kids text messages will cut [00:24:00] through my silencer because they are out of course later than 8:00 PM at night and I do wanna hear from them. Their messages will alert me if there’s something that I need to know about. Okay.

Now I have to tell you something super, super exciting that’s coming down the pipe. I am creating a brand new course. It’s called The Burnout Breakthrough, and it is going to be opening in the month of September. Which is gonna be here before we know it. It is the perfect time of year for you to join me.

If you decide to join me for The Burnout Breakthrough, highly recommend it because your kids are gonna be back in school and you’re gonna be starting a new routine. So there really isn’t a better time for you to jump in and join me for this course. Minimizing distractions with your phone is just one of my strategies to help you get your time back, cut back on your stress and burnout and become like I mentioned earlier, more peacefully productive.

So of course in that course, we’re gonna go deeper into all of the things that I share on the podcast. But I will be there to guide you specifically. I will be able to [00:25:00] answer your questions and I will be able to coach you through it all. I’m gonna be available throughout the six weeks that we’re together for this course to help you to ban busy in your life and become more peaceful in the things that you want to do. Like I mentioned, peaceful productivity is a twofold process. There is a mindset component, and then there’s tactical strategies to actually eliminate and simplify your life. And we are gonna cover it all inside of this course in a step by step strategic process. So I’m gonna be sharing all the things that you need to know. And I cut the fluff because I am not an extra kind of person so I’m gonna be sharing all the things that you need to know. Cuz I know you got a lot of things going on and I know when I take a course, I’m like, just tell me what I need to know.

And so that is the way that I am approaching this. So if you want to join me for that course or if you’re even just interested in all the details of the course. I want you to get on my list because I am going to be sharing all about it with my list, [00:26:00] my email list. So start with the quiz, highly recommend that you’re gonna get some valuable insights into where you can start just from your quiz results.

So start by heading over to janeenalley.com to take the quiz, or you can find the link to the quiz off of the link in my Instagram bio. So either way, take the quiz. Get on the list. I will be sharing all the details about the burnout breakthrough with you in just a few weeks. And if you want to join me, I would love to have you there.

It’s gonna be amazing. And like I said, I’m really pulling out all the stops inside of this course so that you can become more relaxed, more peaceful in the things that you want to get done, and you can get things done that really matter to you focusing in, on all of those Q2 things. So that’s what I have for you guys today.

Like I said, if you wanna take the quiz, head over to janeenalley.com, click on any of the calls to action over there, and it will take you there. alright, my friends, have a beautiful week. We’ll catch you guys soon. Take [00:27:00] care. See ya! Bye.