Seed World

Put Your Life in Airplane Mode

Gro Alliance

A third-generation seedsman, Jim Schweigert grew up in the family seed business and was exposed to industry issues at an early age. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from the University of Minnesota and worked for corporate public relations firms in Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta before joining the family business full time in 2003. He has since been active in the American Seed Trade Association, the Independent Professional Seed Association and earned his master’s in seed technology and business from Iowa State University. As president, Schweigert manages client contracts and crop planning, as well as business development and new market opportunities. His unique background and experience make him one of the seed industry’s leaders in innovation. As such, he was honored as Seed World’s 2009 Future Giant and currently serves as chair of the board of directors for Seed Programs International.

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Buzz-buzz, ding, ring-ring.

We live in a world of constant interruption. It’s so commonplace that you probably don’t even notice anymore.  But make no mistake, those little dings, buzzes and rings are keeping you from being fully present and disrupting your train of thinking.

It happens to me too. My watch is connected to my phone. I have app notifications silenced, but every email, text and phone call create a light vibration on my wrist. With a glance, I can determine if I need to answer the buzz or if it can be left until I have more time to respond. Pretty convenient, right?

Well, sort of. What I’ve learned is that I need to turn the notifications off a lot more often. I was giving a speech a few years ago and barely a minute into it, a group text blew up after a seed industry announcement was made. I’m speaking to a group of nearly 100 people and my wrist is about to catch fire as eight people weigh in on every detail of the announcement. It was awful. I now put my phone in airplane mode about 15 minutes before I give any speech. This also has helped keep me in the right mindset as I don’t get distracted by a last-minute email.

This same phenomenon occurred while I was doing tasks that required deep thinking. A buzz here and ding there and my entire train of thought got derailed. It drove me crazy!

I now turn off notifications when I am in planning meetings, reviewing complex contracts, and doing anything that requires deep and uninterrupted thinking…yes, even while working on articles like this one.

Thinking that you need every piece of information right now is an easy trap to fall into. The reality is that spending more time in uninterrupted thought will do a lot more to advance your career, company and even your personal life than getting every notification at every moment.

Allowing time for deep, uninterrupted thought is the greatest life hack ever. Think about this while at family dinner, giving an employee review, talking to customers about their needs and participating in a planning meeting. Staying uninterrupted will give you an incredible edge over those who just can’t live without knowing that their aunt just commented on your cousin’s social media post from three weeks ago.