You are a miracle.
You exist, and that’s amazing. The probability that you exist is basically zero. You are one in a billion, one in a trillion, one in whatever number you want to call it—the odds of your existence are so infinite small that they basically don’t exist at all. Infographic of the odds
So let me ask you: are you willing to give up your existence and clutter your mind with irrelevant stuff instead of using your existence to explore your potential?
Well, I am not. And neither should you.
It’s no secret that we live in a world full of distractions. We have so many choices, and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. It can be difficult to focus on what’s important when we have so many things distracting us from what really matters
We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements for things we don’t need or information we don’t care about or are in need of.
It’s not just external distractions we have to worry about—we also have internal distractions that haunt us, the well known voice called The Resistance and his partner in crime Mr. Smartass.
But here is the thing: These distractions are not going away anytime soon; if anything, they are only going to get louder over time (and with technological advances). So how can we combat this problem?
The answer is simple: Turn Off to Turn Pro.
💡 Several books in the productivity field touch on this topic. From Atomic Habits, Deep Work, The Compound Effect, Turning Pro. And if you sum it up to one sentence, it is: block your most productive hours for work, be consistent and do not get distracted.
Find the distractions
We live in a world that’s constantly distracting us.
If we are not distracted by our phones, we are distracted by the people around us or the noise in our environment. Or maybe we are just distracted by our feelings, by our own hearts and minds. We have become so accustomed to constant distraction that we do not even notice it anymore - it has become normal to be drawn away from ourselves and toward other things
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes.
The first step is recognizing what these distractions are and how they affect us. Once you understand why they’re there and what role they play, you can begin to silence them
You could start by asking yourself: What is it about content-rich sites that makes me want to check them? What am I trying to accomplish? Is it just to kill time? Or do I actually want to get something done while I’m there?
Once you’ve identified your primary motivations these distractions, you’ll be able to take steps towards silencing those distractions by setting up self-imposed limitations or even blocking access altogether.
Ask yourself if the chances of your existence were created to consume and be distracted
Do you own your phone or does the phone own you? Screen time will tell you.
Find your productive hours and protect them at all costs
The first step know what your most productive hours are - and then dedicate them to your work. You have only a limited amount of time in which to concentrate and do your best. This precious concentration time is sacred and should only be used to produce quality work.
For me, this precious time is the time between the fasting hours, especially between 08:00 and 12:00. This is the time when my mind is fresh and when I can produce high quality code. After lunch, my mind slows down a bit and runs at full speed again from 14:00 to 17:00. During this time, breaks are important to let the mind breathe. Pomodoro or a similar technique is recommended
And this starts the day before, when i go to bed early and do not eat too late. Eating late and staying up late have the same effect as a hangover: they leave me feeling drained and sluggish, unable to work effectively or efficiently the day after.
And if you were a top athlete and you had these terrible routines, you would not be a top athlete anymore. And if you want to compete at a high level and utilize your potential, then you should consider yourself an elite athlete.
Everyone is competing for your attention. From family to social media to the news. It can be hard to focus on what you want to accomplish. You need to dedicate this precious concentration time only to producing quality work. Don’t let Zuckerberg and other content-heavy websites spoil that precious time with their updates!
But if we want to be successful professionals, we need to know how our minds work and make sure we’re dedicating them properly so we can reach our goals (and maybe even exceed them).
Make it a ritual to go into productive time. It’s your way of preparing for the race. For example, maybe it’s a 10-minute meditation session. A cup of coffee (decaf)?
It’s about doing something that helps you get in the right frame of mind and be ready when you start working on your project. Like a running athlete waiting for the starting gun.
When the productive hours end and you go into the day of leisure and family. Zuckerberg and notifications are still lurking around the corner. This is the time when your mind and body can rest. No work, do not fill your mind with unnecessary information. Just relax
You don’t want your mind to be filled with unnecessary information during these times. You want to be able to rest without your phone buzzing every five minutes reminding you that there are still things waiting for you at work—or that there are people expecting an answer from you.
Sometimes it can feel like there’s no escape from the constant stream of information coming at us from all directions. But if we learn how to manage our digital lives well enough, we can take back control of our time and our minds—at least when it comes to social media and notifications
There was a time when I thought that recharging time was not for me. I am a machine, and I do not need a break. Oh, how wrong I was.
💡 Burnout gave me a reality check.
It’s true that if you don’t take care of yourself, your body can’t function at its best. The mind-body connection is very real, and once it starts to go south, it can be hard to turn things around. Recharging time helped me realize this—it taught me that if I want to make sure my body is running at maximum efficiency, then it has to be recharged
It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that working hard means working for hours and hours, non-stop. But here’s the thing: no one is a machine. No one can sustain that kind of output forever without burning out, and burnout is not victory.
When your mind rests, the magic happens. That’s when the solutions emerge, and you should be ready to write them down. Productivity and relaxation go hand in hand
My best ideas always occur when I’m taking care of myself: whether that means reading on my lunch break, going outside for some fresh air at lunchtime instead of staying in my office all afternoon. Going to the gym, listening to a podcast, being present.
You’re a marathoner.
As discussed in the book The Compound Effect, consistency is key to achieving your goals. Consistency keeps us on track with our plans, even when we don’t feel like it.
The key to consistency is to keep doing what you’re doing, no matter how small the steps are or how far apart they are from each other. The more consistent you are with your habits, the faster they’ll add up and become big changes in your life.
Be consistent when it’s time to be productive, and be consistent when it’s time to relax. Eat healthy, exercise, and sleep well. and that means you have to cut out everything that does not do you any good.
I just want to take a moment to appreciate what you have already accomplished.
You have a family who loves you and a network of friends who lift you up. You are surrounded by people who care about you and support you, even if they don’t always say it out loud. And that’s not something that everyone has.
So I want to encourage you to step back and spend time with your loved ones, because one day they will cease to exist.
Turn off all things that distract you from being present at work, with family, and with friends. One day you too will cease to exist. Do not let life pass you by.
This is not magic, it’s just common sense. But sometimes we do not do what we should do. And that’s okay. You are not a machine, it’s okay to mess up sometimes. Just be consistent in the long run.