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Master your attention in the age of distraction

"Attention is the precious resource of the 21st century," - Jeff Bezos. However, as someone who's fallen prey to smartphone notifications, the YouTube algorithm, and news feed, I've often squandered it. All around us are things vying for our attention. And the tiny gadget that we carry around with us (read smartphone) pretty much holds us captive if we don't use it wisely. At first, app notifications seemed helpful to me. How cool to be able to get updates real-time whether it's breaking news, social media notifications, or even app updates like offers, deals, new releases etc. Over time, I realized that these notifications were mostly unnecessary interruptions that reduced my ability to focus and created a feeling of overwhelm. So, I changed some things around. These are a few practices I started that have helped me focus better: 1) I disabled most app notifications on my phone - This has helped me limit unwanted interruptions. As a result, I'm able to focus more and feel less overwhelmed. Try it if you haven't already - it's liberating. 2) Switching on 'Focus Mode' on the phone - This mode pauses distractive apps and notifications on my phone and enables me to get things done. When I feel tempted to watch YouTube videos instead of doing something important, Focus Mode automatically restricts my access. Even if you bypass the warning, you will be allowed to access the restricted app only for 5 minutes. In case you want to know more about Focus Mode, check the comments for related links. 3) Turned off the Chrome 'Discover' feed on my Android handset and 'Content' on Edge - This is typically where you see features / news articles based on your interest. I realized that I was spending time mindlessly scrolling through this feed; I'd get sucked into it like a vortex. So, I've disabled this feature on both Chrome and Edge browsers.

Related Tiny Habits Recipe: Tiny Habits Recipe: After I start work on the most important task of the day, I will work offline on Outlook / use the DND mode on Instant Messaging Systems (Teams / Slack / Google Chat etc). I've found this helpful because email notifications and IMs hamper my focus.

What has helped you focus better?

Image: Erikona @ Canva


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