Hello all, before we get into this week’s Productive Brew, we wanted to let you know that Rise Productive is proud to be launching a membership version of the podcast! With this membership, you’ll receive an additional hour of the Rise Productive podcast, our members-only podcast, and the newsletter “The Weekly Pour-Over,” and access to our private community Slack channel! It’s all available to you now so be sure to check that out here. ☕
As the 21st-century experience seems to be defined by spotty Wifi, long lines at the supermarket, and time spent waiting for your boss to let you join the Zoom meeting, buffer time is more prevalent than ever. While the 21st century’s knee-jerk reaction is to immediately begin swiping through social media posts that you’ll inevitably forget by tomorrow, I want to talk about three techniques I’ve found to win back my time from the unnecessary evils of idleness.
My first tip for optimizing buffer time is minimizing your phone applications. Last fall when Demetri and I lived together, I remember glaring at his phone screen and noticing how minimal it looked. A total of maybe four apps were on his first page, and no second page was in sight. After noticing how appealing the lack of distractions looked, I began a similar journey of removing Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even Reddit from my phone.
In Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport states the first step to reintegrating apps back into your life after a digital detox is by creating a rigorous scheme to decide whether to download an app. For me, this schema is, “what is the scrollability of his app?” And secondly, “how easily could I be hooked?” Using this schema opened my eyes to the detrimental addiction of seemingly harmless apps such as Reddit, and has kept me away from the temptations of apps such as Tik Tok.
If this change seems too drastic or unrealistic, start by using Apple’s Hide App functionality if you’re an iPhone user. I promise you, you’ll notice how spontaneous and subconscious our tendency to open these apps is.
Once we’ve liberated ourselves from social media scrolling, the next point comes quite naturally — notice those times throughout your day when the first thing you do is check your phone. Although time blocking as removed major idle blocks of time from my life, some necessary idle times include sitting on the bus, waiting for podcast audio to render, and sitting in my Normatec boots (which are these awesome recovery boots that inflate and restrict blood flow in your legs. So key for recovery).
When we have no go-to activity during moments of downtime, we begin to notice how much time we truly have to sit with ourselves or complete a more meaningful activity. As a final clarification on this point, buffer time refers to the necessary evils where you must have downtime such as driving to work or that time in between meetings where it’s just not enough time to get work done, but just enough time to get bored. If you want to win back major hours of your life, I would recommend checking out our conversation about my experience with Time Blocking on the main podcast channel.
And the final step towards winning back your buffer time from the evils of loading screens and traffic jams is to utilize associations. By finding buffer time in our lives and realizing some of the buckets we wish to fill with our time, we can create a template for better-utilizing downtime and associate experiences together.
Whenever I hop on the bus, I think of it almost as stepping into the Rise Productive office. For the duration of the bus ride, I’m focused on RP, and this will manifest itself either by me writing a Productive Brew, just like this one for example, or listening to the next audiobook we are doing a book review on.
While I’m laying on the couch in the Normatecs, I make a glass of tea and spend that time pleasure reading. And when I’m waiting for podcast clips to render on Adobe Premiere, I spend that time tidying my room and even preparing for the day ahead if it takes extra long.
By associating specific tasks with specific locations or instances in time, I am able to catch myself before my knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone comes into being. Just as rituals such as walking into your office building or taking that first sip of coffee signify the beginning of a work session, we can use our environment as visual catalysts for habits.
So ask yourself, how can you flip the script and make that loading screen wait for you?
Have an awesome week!
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✍️ Quote of the Week
“Time and pressure change anything” - Nikhil Pandey