Dan Counsell wrote an excellent post about removing distractions. In the post he talks about how he removed distractions by removing social media apps such as Twitter and Facebook from his iPhone. He’s done other things too such as reading a book instead of checking Twitter, and he started a “No Technology Day” on Saturdays, which is something I think I might start doing as well.
Over the last year I too have been eliminating distractions in my life by spending more of my time doing what I love and changing the way I use social networks. Changing the way I use social networks is one of the reasons I wrote my app Cross Post. With Cross Post I can share pictures, thoughts, and comments on Facebook, Twitter, and App.net without the worry of being distracted by those sites. Cross Post sends updates to social media sites, but it does not read the time lines or streams from those sites. Cross Post is a tool for making, not reading, micro-blog posts, hence it’s ability to help eliminate distractions.
I did one other thing to help me eliminate distractions. I turned off notifications on all but the most important apps on my iPhone1. Unlike Dan I did not remove the social media apps from my phone. I still want to be able to reply to mentions via my iPhone, which is why I left the apps installed. And in the case of Facebook, it’s the easiest way for me to get news about my family via my sister down in Mississippi, so I still check Facebook once or twice a day. But I do not receive notifications from any of the social media apps on my phone.
So how can you start eliminating distractions in your life. I suggest starting with Dan’s new website, The Great Disconnect. It contains articles, videos and information about how to remove distractions by living a less connected life. Check it out because we all can benefit from being a bit less connected these days.
Examples of app that are important to me and which I still have notifications turned on are ones for my bank and credit cards. I want to make sure I’m alerted if a fraudulent charge is ever made against one of my accounts. Slack is another app that I use with notifications turned on since I use this for work purposes. Beyond that, I have notifications turned off. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I let sites like Twitter notify me of mentions via email, and I only check email a few times a day. ↩