Time seems increasingly scarce these days – and more important than ever. If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, or seeking your next competitive advantage, or trying to figure out where your business is going and how it’s going to get there, one of the first questions you should be asking is, “How am I spending my time?”
A key to future-readiness – to creating the capacity to become future-ready – is becoming more aware of what’s sucking the time out of our lives so that we can better prioritize what we actually want to and should be doing. Because let’s face it, a lot of our time today isn’t spent working – it’s spent being distracted.
Here to break it all down is this week’s guest. He’s Brian Solis, a self-described digital analyst, an anthropologist, and a futurist. He has studied the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture, and he’s written best-selling books like Engage, The End of Business as Usual, and What’s the Future of Business?
His latest book is called LifeScale, and it could be a gamechanger for the accounting and finance industry – and really, any industry that takes it to heart.
In this conversation, we cover:
- The phenomenon of digital disruption and how our profession should be addressing it.
- How innovation challenges the core of who we are, so we need people to empower us so that we can better embrace it.
- The difference between innovation, iteration, and disruption.
- How we can start to reclaim our time.
Listen to my interview with Brian Solis here:
You’re not busier – you’re more distracted
The full title of Brian’s book is LifeScale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life.
So, a show of hands: How many of you feel like you’re swamped, and too busy, and that you’ve dug yourself into a hole that you can’t climb out of? If you didn’t raise your hand, it probably means you’re too busy to do so.
This is one of the points Brian makes in his new book – the fact that we all feel like we’re busier than ever, when in fact we’re actually just more distracted. More things are demanding our attention than ever – e-mail, social media, the dankest memes, Netflix, the approximately 1 billion channels of cable TV we have access to. And life – kids, spouses, friends, houses, yards, business. It’s a wonder we have time to sleep.
Which we don’t. Gallup reports that “Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, down more than an hour from 1942. Medical studies have related a lack of sleep to health problems and cognitive impairment. Therefore, experts typically recommend seven to nine hours of sleep for adults.”
How many of you are getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night? My neither.
And we haven’t even begun to talk about productivity. In “LifeScale,” Brian writes: “Experts recommend spending 25 minutes to two hours working on a project at a time. If you’re spending less than 25 minutes on an important or challenging task, then you’re killing concentration and deflating your ability to warm up your brain before you quit. Your brain typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to work following a distraction.”
Let that sink in for a second: Your brain typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to work following a distraction. And how many distractions do you run into on a daily basis? How many e-mails? How many Slack messages? How many social media notifications?
It’s no wonder we think we’re busier than ever. But what are we really spending our time on? Is it a ton of more work? Or are we trying to squeeze our work in between distractions that are sucking the time, life, attention, and productivity out of our lives?
I’m not trying to preach to you; I’m as guilty of this as anyone … but I’m working on it.
Really, Brian’s book is a wake-up call: We only have one life to live. How much of that life do we want to spend scrolling through Facebook feeds, or taking selfies, or posting crap to Twitter or Instagram?
What could we accomplish with that time?