Attention is a resource - a person has only so much of it. Attention is becoming increasingly scarce. In economic theory, the more scarce a resource becomes, the more valuable it becomes. Completing deep, focused work whilst free of distractions is extremely rare and surprisingly difficult, yet so valuable. This is perhaps in-part due to our smartphones and other devices. Technology is a double-edged sword. It offers an array of tools that make our lives more efficient. Conversely, it provides a multitude of attention-stealing distractions.
Here are some tips to win back some precious attention, and increase your productivity.
> Disable most notifications. These are the silent killers. You can't get anything meaningful done if you're reacting to a new notification every 30 seconds. Go into Settings > Notifications, and turn off all notifications that you don't need. Leave notifications on for some apps such as your calendar, alarms, reminders, phone calls, and delivery apps.
> Turn "Badges" off for everything. Badges are the little red dots with numbers in them that give you anxiety that there’s something important going on in that app. You’ll get more done and probably even live longer if you never see another badge.
> Hide slot-machine apps. Social media apps use variable reward to trigger mindless and addictive behaviour. Move all your social media apps into one folder, and hide it, so it's not immediately visible on your home screen/first page of apps. By doing this, you will decide when you check these apps, rather than the apps deciding for you.
> Disable App Review requests. Enjoying the app? Give us 5 stars! Apps with more positive reviews get ranked higher in the App Store. As a consequence, app developers will interrupt your productive activity to solicit you with review requests.
> Utilize Focus Mode on iOS, or Do Not Disturb on Android. You know what it is. You might already have it turned on whilst you're sleeping. Consider turning it on when you're working.
> Use Screen Time, or an equivalent app to monitor your activity. Once you can see exactly how you spend your time, you become accountable for it.
If you made it through the whole post, congratulations on your mental discipline, and thank you for your attention.
Thanks for reading!
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