There’s been a lot of talk in the press recently about “releasing spectrum”. As far as I can tell, the people in government making the calls in Telekoms (hehe – I punned there) are under pressure from various stakeholders regarding making more frequencies available. This will lead to better internet, fewer dropped calls, cheaper rates, etc. But it is dragging because there are lots of vested interests (aren’t there always) who would like the spectrum to remain limited.
Made me think, this.
Humans also have spectrum. Attention spectrum, that is. And it gets taken up by all kinds of stuff. Your spouse, your kids, your job, shopping for food, your friends, your hobbies, etc…
And I bet a lot of us find ourselves dedicating way more spectrum to stuff that we really don’t care for or shouldn’t give any bandwidth. Like sitting in traffic. Discussing politics. Watching Graham Norton interviews on Youtube. Oh, and don’t get me started on social media…
So how could we, as humans, release more spectrum? Add more bandwidth so that we can drop fewer calls, have faster connectivity, and be more productive (and therefore happier)? Wait, I hear you say. Productivity does not equal happiness. I know, I know. But I would rather be more productive and unhappy, than unhappy and unproductive. Get my drift? In my case, the more I get done the more my happiness quotient increases. But I’ll take the point, let me get to presenting the tablets of the mountain (there are six little hacks here - six is my lucky number).
Release Spectrum Commandment #1: The Steve Jobs Black Poloneck rule
Jobs had only one outfit. So did Obama. Zuckerberg, too. They have so much going on – ALL THE TIME – they don’t want to spend a nanosecond of thought energy on “What should I wear today.” Seems a bit OTT for mere mortals like you and me – but then, they accomplished a helluva lot, those guys.
I suppose it takes a nanosecond to choose your outfit in the morning. Might be trickier for women, so I confess that this particular hack is trickier in a patriarchal society. But all three these guys had made it an important part of their morning ritual – to NOT make any decision there. Black polo necks for Jobs, grey suits for Obama…not sure about Zuckerberg's uniform, think it’s the black tee? And therefore make sure they are laser-focused with their attention somewhere else.
Release Spectrum Commandment #2: Stop the Whatsapp Push
I think they do it intentionally. There is no option to “quietly” leave a Whatsapp group. And leaving is a slap in the face of the group members. It doesn’t matter that the constant irrelevant convos distract you and drive you nuts – nice guy protocol dictates you just have to stick around.
There are three ways to release Spectrum here: a. (PREFERABLE): Apologize (you really don’t have to) to the group that it’s just too much in your feed, and leave. Loudly. This is your best possible option. b. Behind door no 2, you can stop Whatsapp notifications. Therefore need to go in and check. Will be less effective, but will release some bandwidth. c. Delete the App off your phone. Just do it. And load it on your desktop, and check messages only when working. Ah, but I think that’s probably the hardest one of all…
Release Spectrum Commandment #3: Limit your access
Turn Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc. to apps that only work when you have Wi-Fi. That’s it. It will be hard to defrag, and you might find yourself actually having a conversation with the person next to you as opposed to aimlessly scrolling social media. It’ll be there when you get home…then it’s a whole new battle.
Release Spectrum Commandment #4: Unsubscribe
About two years ago, I made the best decision of my life. I unsubscribed from news emails/apps. I love this guy called Peter Bruce, and he does a daily column in the Business Day. .
His stuff is incisive, controversial sometimes and I love his style. I also realized, after about two months of starting my day with a serving of the Bruce, that he is basically telling me the same bad news in a few different ways. It wasn’t news. It was entertainment. Because we all love to read about how our government is screwing up, and boy is there a lot of material. Systems drive behaviour – and the guy is paid to come up with a column every day. Can’t blame him.
Now that I no longer follow the bad news every morning, I spend that 10 minutes listening to a podcast that inspires me. Or read a book that teaches me something. It’s one of the best things I ever did. And when needed, my mom tells me what’s going on in the world. We should talk more.
Release Spectrum Commandment #5: Uber
Traffic can be nasty. But honestly, for most of the city rides that I now do, I just Uber it. My car stays at home. This allows me to make phone calls, do some work on the laptop, or just zone out and finish my morning rituals.
What I’m NOT doing is giving spectrum – and frustration energy - to traffic. And you get dropped right there, so no parking three blocks up and then spending another 10 minutes walking to where you want to be. No brainer.
Release Spectrum Commandment #6: SODA
I do this great exercise when doing leadership training with entrepreneurs. It’s called the Sweetspot, and it was cooked up by a friend of mine in the training community called Andy Clayton. You can find the details on sweetspot.guru, but essentially it encourages you to identify things that you are doing that isn’t optimal use of your time, and then:
STOP: Just stop it. Don’t do it. What’s the worst that can happen?
OUTSOURCE: Get a pro on Fiverr or Upwork to do it. They’ll do it cheap cheap and probably do a better job than you would.
DELEGATE: You have an assistant. And an accountant. And, depending on some other metrics, other people minding your business. Are you delegating enough?
AUTOMATE: Birthdays. Anniversaries. Reminder emails. Just a few things you might be doing manually, that you can automate through CRM systems like Zoho, Hubspot, and Salesforce.
SODA. Get into the habit of measuring time, and look at where you are wasting it. Release that Spectrum…
Be brave, and see where it lands for you.
Till next time, PG
If you would like me to come talk to your team on Releasing Spectrum...