Study: A 2019 Gallup poll of 150,000 people in 140 countries found 45% of Americans felt “a lot of worry” the previous day and 55% of Americans said they felt “a lot of stress” the previous day. The rest of the world said 39% and 35%, respectively.

Question: Why does the richest nation in the history of the world have little evidence that our citizens are happier?

Answer: Perhaps we have more money, but part of the problem is that we’ve given up control of our time, which is a bigger issue than most people realize.

Psychologist, Angus Campbell’s Research: Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.

Now Look From This Angle: Having no or very little sense of control of one’s life is a more dependable predictor of negative feelings than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.

Disruption Inventory: I dare you to go through an entire week and log everything you react to throughout each day. Every email, text, tweet, phone call, social media notification, advertisement, mail delivery, Amazon delivery, boss request, customer request, employee request, kid request, bills, traffic, invoices, music, TV, website pop-up ads, etc.

Disruption Mitigation: After you complete the log, go through your list and ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I eliminate this disruption forever?
  • How can I eliminate this disruption temporarily, so I can respond on my terms?

Neuroscience of Disruption: Constant interruptions, disruptions, and response-requiring mandates are stressful. Why? The human brain has a strong desire to be able to predict, meaning we like certainty. When you add uncertainty (unplanned disruptions) to the equation, this is cortisol-inducing.

Unreactive: You are more confident and influential when you are unreactive. When you are always available to respond, it gives the person or thing demanding your attention the power to control you. Being overly available to anything is a sign of weakness, and it minimizes the amount of control you have over your own life. If you design your day intentionally, you don’t have to be the victim of these unending interruptions.

Consider: “Doing something you love on a schedule you can’t control can feel the same as doing something you hate.” – Morgan Housel

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