Despite the fact that I don’t watch TV, my “anti-library” — books I own and desperately want to read but can’t just find the time do it — keeps growing.
A while back I realized that the most deadly weapon of mass distraction in my life is my smartphone. With apps like Twitter and Facebook on it, it’s just too tempting to go to them than to reach out for my Kindle where most of my books reside waiting for me…
And so I decided to take action.
I deleted Facebook and Twitter apps from my smartphone. I can still go to them through my browser but I have to log in every time. (can’t delete the browser damn!). And because that requires some effort, the time I spend on those apps has dropped by more than 70%
On my laptop (macbook pro) I use technology to fight technology. I have actively started using this app called Self Control. It’s an absolute boon because it
lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites–even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
For several hours of the day, I block myself from all social media and google news (noise?).
Then, I switched off most notifications from my phone. No more sound or vibration when a message (including from dear wife) or a mail arrives and no notification on number of unread messages/mails etc. I also switched off most notifications on my laptop. And I use the do-not-disturb feature on my iPhone which blocks all calls or messages or those from unknown numbers as long as I want.
For my professional work, which requires focus on long term fundamental performance rather than real time stock price movements, I deleted the google finance bookmark from my laptop and deleted all apps on my phone which gave real-time stock prices. Sorry Bloomberg!
I love technology and what it can do for me. But I absolutely hate it’s ability to distract me from reading and from my work. The above measures have caused my productivity to increase significantly. Perhaps, they will be of some use to you. If you have any tips on how to win against weapons of mass distraction (no I don’t want to give up my smartphone or my laptop!), please share them.