WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:
Off screen systems ensure that your mind focuses where it wants to focus and not where it’s directed to focus by external stimuli.
Devices with screens like phones, tablets, computers etc. can easily distract us. We go in for one thing and hours later we come out dazed and confused.
To combat this distraction we need to develop a system. An off-screen process for getting clear about our goals, desires, values and ultimately our focus.
HOW IT WORKS
With the notebook I capture ideas, thoughts, goals, tasks, etc. as they come to me and have a place to store them. I also keep a log of my activities as I go along as it helps me to ‘reset’ my focus and see what I’ve done and what I still have left to do. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment to see a visible trail of what I’m doing.
The notebook is a vital piece of the off-screen system puzzle as it allows your mind to relax knowing that all thoughts, worries, concerns etc. are being captured somewhere. To take this to the next level simply take pictures of your notes, then tag or categorize them in your favorite online note keeping app (I use bear) so that you can now easily find them in the future.
At the front of the notebook I have my GOALS and I continue to reference them through the day.
Next I have my VALUES, which clarify why I have chosen the goals I have.
Next I have my STRATEGY for how I’m going to realize my goals. A rough plan if you will.One very important point for clarification is that I realize one of the best strategies is to turn strategies into systems, with very clear and measurable outputs. The distinction is this: a strategy is HOW to get things done. And a system is how to get things done, CONSISTENTLY. Every system should have a clear output: for example is it generate more leads & sales, visibility, engagement, or in the case of creating an off screen system the output is more mental energy & clarity.
Next I have my TASKS showing the tactics of the day for acting on the strategies. The best thing to do is brain dump all the existing tasks I feel I have today and see how they connect with goals, or add on some goals to my goal list so that I’m more clear on why I’m doing the tasks (they connect with a bigger picture goal).
Next is the LOG – for tracking anything of importance I want to keep in front of me. Like how much water I’m drinking, how many deep breaths I’ve taken, how much habits I’ve done today or how much has my net asset balance gone up or down. I’m basically tracking the stats I consider vital in measuring how I’m doing in this life game.
On the white board I capture key things I want to focus on especially top goals, any appointments coming up, etc. It’s just another stable, visible reminder of what I want to focus on. It’s an important part of my ‘off screen system’ because don’t have to remember to pull it up later, like I do a program. It’s already up. This saves me mental energy. And reduces the anxiety that I might be forgetting something.
Lastly I’ve been making chipits a pretty important part of my daily routine. What I do there is have two jars. And in one jar is small chips of wood (you can use anything as chips: even strips of paper), where I’ve written down the things I want to do each day. I start out with everything in the left jar, and as I complete them I move them into the right jar. At the end of the day I tally up the chips and record them in my tracker / log.
This saves me from having to re-write my habits each day. As I simply move them back into the left jar and start again the next day. It also saves me from having to go back into my phone each time I want to track a habit .. which is not the best process for tracking habits as the phone itself is ripe with distraction.
Find what works for you, discard the rest. At the end of the day this is YOUR off-screen system. The important thing is to find your sanity off screens as much as possible.
James Sunheart is a student of personal development and spiritual growth. He is passionate about optimizing people, systems and life. He’s written 7 books. Interviewed hundreds of experts. Given a TED Talk in France. Lives in Costa Rica while developing a sustainable eco-village. For opportunities email: James AT FullPotential.com