As a sports agent, one of the unwritten parts of my job was helping my clients eliminate distractions. Peak performers have learned this one thing: minimize distractions to maximize capacity. What’s one of the best ways to maximize your capacity? Try a digital detox.
What makes the best different? Their capacity.
When I was an agent, I had a front-row seat to peak performance. To the difference between the people that made it and stayed there, and the ones that didn’t. The D1 coaches that win games and championships, and the ones that get fired. The baseball players that get to the big leagues and then win Cy Youngs, Gold Gloves and world championships. The difference between them and everybody else.
One of the things that was different about them was their capacity. There were so many times when players or coaches would call me on their way to the field, the court, or the course, and the amount of stuff going on in their life was enormous. Physically, professionally or personally, they all had so much going on in their lives. However, the best would not let that stuff hold them back, they’d step out and find a way to overcome, to execute.
I remember on so many occasions, former Atlant Braves player, John Smoltz, would call me on the way to the field and fill me in on all the things going on in his life. And then, he would step out on the mound and he would throw strike after strike and win a game.
I would think to myself, “Man, if the world knew what was coming at this guy right now they wouldn’t even believe he could perform like this.”
We all have stuff coming at us all the time, but what I saw the best do is they would save the distractions for later and focus on what matters in the moment.
You don’t have to throw your phone in a lake to do a digital detox
Now here’s a bit of an extreme example, but I remember I was walking a practice round with one of my PGA tour players. I would often go and walk practice rounds on Tuesdays with my players before a tournament. It was a great way to spend four hours together and connect while they were preparing for the tournament.
I remember one of my guy’s phones just kept ringing and vibrating nonstop. He got so frustrated with the constant distraction and everything coming at him that he picked up his phone and he heaved it into the pond. For three weeks, he went without a phone, which in this day and age, it’s hard to get our heads around.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we need to throw our phones into a lake, but here’s what I am suggesting, phones are one of the biggest distractions that we have. We all have heard this before and we know it, but we are letting our phones control us when they are something that we can control. When we are able to minimize our digital distractions we are able to increase our capacity for what matters most.
Cal Newport and the digital detox
I had Cal Newport on my podcast. In his bestselling books Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport explores our evolving and complicated relationship with technology. Technology has transformed the way we work and live- but at what cost?
In a world defined by electronic busyness, Cal argues that we no longer value deep work. And in our personal lives, we have become addicted to our devices at the expense of human connection. I invite you to check out this episode if you haven’t already. Cal walks us through a digital detox, an intentional decluttering process that thousands of people have used to simplify their lives. Learn how to make technology work for you— not the other way around.
Here’s my challenge to you: try a digital detox
So here’s my challenge to you is to do a digital detox. We’ve all been sucked into the endless scroll through Instagram and Facebook. In January, so many of us are trying health-related detoxes, but what are we doing to regenerate our minds?
Trying a digital detox is simple, just take out your phone and delete every app. I know that sounds crazy, but it will free up so much capacity and minimize so many distractions. As you go through the next week without any apps, slowly begin to identify the apps that you actually need and add them back to your phone. Identify what is serving you and what is not. At the end of the week you’ll know what you need and the distractions that you don’t need.
Take back the control from digital distractions and feel your capacity expand.
More on energy management:
- Episode 75- Cal Newport on 3 Steps to Declutter Your Digital LifeWhy
- We Need to Stop Multitasking
- Are you Managing Your Energy Effectively?
- Everyday Habits to Boost Your Energy
- Episode 44- Juliet Funt on Reclaiming White Space at Work
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to up their game. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up to receive our newsletter, subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast, and watch her TED Talk on The Secrets to a Champion Mindset.