A Prescription for Digital Drifters

November 17th, 2016   •   no comments   •   Author: Walter Lim   

A Prescription for Digital Drifters

Courtesy of McKinsey

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. She has done it. So did he.

What am I talking about? Well, I’m writing about the double D of Digital Drifting.

Just take a look around your immediate environment. Like right now.

Do you see somebody scrolling through Facebook on his smartphone?

Or maybe watching the latest Korean soap drama on her tablet or phablet?

Perhaps he is actively trying to “defend” the “galaxy” by quelling those nefarious “space bugs”.

Imagine what could happen if you just devote half of your DD time to doing something productive on your device. Why you could shift the time spent on mindless consumption towards meaningful pursuits.

Here are tips that you can adopt.

1) Adopt The Half-Half Strategy

Instead of spending an hour on Facebook each day catching up on the latest gossips, why don’t your split half of that time to network on LinkedIn? Search to connect with like-minded others, read thought educational posts from influencers, and share some useful nuggets there.

Or maybe you can split your commuting activities so that the more productive work (like writing emails or jotting down notes or planning your day) can be done in the mornings when you are fresh. You can then devote your tired and bone-weary self in the evening to the pleasures of DOTS or DOTA!

2) Write for 30 Minutes Every Day

Yeah I know that many of you hate to write. It’s not natural to you. Your English sucks. You failed your GP.

Well, surprise, surprise!

You have actually written far more in a day than any of your ancestors ever had in a week! Just count all the words you have tapped on Whatsapp, Facebook message, Skype or Twitter!

Use some of that time spent endlessly commenting and chatting towards a bigger piece of long form writing. This can be a blog post, article, or maybe even an eBook or physical book. You’ll not only feel better and more accomplished after that – it’ll probably help you to strengthen your writing and thinking skills!

3) Batch Process Communication Activities

The most productive people in the world control their calendar. They know precisely which hour of the day they will be involved with what activities.

Some even go all the way – by metering, monitoring and managing what they do during the minutes of their day – all 1,440 of them!

Now I am not asking you to be obsessed with watching your time. That may be counter-productive.

Rather, “batch process” your social engagements and only communicate during certain times of the day. This can be during your lunch breaks, pee breaks or perhaps the evenings when you are least productive.

4) Switch Off Your Alerts

May I confess something?  I mute alerts from some of the Whatsapp groups which I am a member of.

Beyond that, I also un-follow some of my overactive friends on Facebook (whom I still love), but whose posts may get me unnecessarily hot under the collar.

When you actively manage how you wish to be contacted, and who takes priority of your time, you gain greater control over your life.

Honestly, much of what gets forwarded in such groups are not really beneficial for the heart and mind. Save your mental and emotional energies for valuable stuff from the people who truly matter.

5) Adopt a 1-5-10 Ratio: Create-Comment-Consume

To increase your influence, seek to publish or share at least one piece of content for every five which you comment on or like, or every 10 which you consume.

The idea here is to force yourself into a creation as opposed to a consumption mode.

Now creation does not have to result in the creation of a magnum opus or a New York Times bestseller. Rather, it should result in the production of a piece of content which you can form and shape – one which adds value to the life of your followers and friends.

6) Take Notes, Summarise and Paraphrase

One of the habits which have stuck with me all these years is that of taking notes. I scribble tonnes of notes during conferences, workshops and seminars, making sure that I do not miss out on any valuable pointers shared by the speaker.

What about the podcasts which I listen to, or the blogs which I read?

Well, although I may not be as diligent in taking down everything, I do try to make it a point to summarise key lessons learned for my course materials (I conduct a two-day social media marketing workshop) or a blog post.

Similarly, I urge you to document and review what you’ve learned every single day. This can be in the form of a journal, notes on your smartphone, or pointers scribbled somewhere.

Ready To Be Digitally Diligent?

The key point of what I have written above is this: your time, energy and  attention is limited.

Rather than live out the dramas of other people’s lives, consume sensational news that you can do little about, or slay imaginary foes, make a productive difference in your digital lives.

Convert your time, energies and attention towards fruitful ends. Eventually – and it may be sooner than you think – you will reap a bountiful harvest which exceeds your wildest imagination.

Trust me. I’ve been there. 🙂

PS- This entire post was written on my smartphone during a 50 minute train ride cum brisk walk to work.

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