In the world of soft skills, concentration is the new multitasking.
Since a growing body of research suggests that multitasking is the enemy of productivity (quite the opposite to what we used to believe even a few years ago), it seems that everyone should be learning to maintain focus and stop distraction.
If you look around, you will most certainly notice that technology is the biggest source of distraction these days. Social networks, push notifications, wearables, gadget synchronization—all these things have become an inherent part of modern life. They are what fuels the global epidemic of distraction.
Of course, technology helps us, too. With tech it’s possible to always stay in the know and to keep in touch with loved ones 24/7. The price we pay, however, is too high. We all, at one time or another, suffer from increased irritability, loss of focus, and productivity issues.
There is some paradox in technology. Firstly, it is what gеts us into a distraction mess, but it is also what can help us get out. After all, it is not the technology itself, rather how we use it that defines the effect it has on our lives.
Here are some of the most common distractions and some cool productivity tools you can use to fight back. Enjoy!
Solution: Email Overload Killers, like Inbox Pause
Believe it or not, a typical office worker checks their email 36 times per hour. Eek. This translates into an email-caused distraction every two minutes during the work day. If you are guilty of email addiction, you should take measures to limit the power it has over you.
To address the problem of email overload, try Inbox Pause. With Inbox Pause, you can form a habit of checking email on your own schedule (not each time you see a push notification or just feel like checking your inbox). Don’t worry though, the app allows you to set a list of exceptions to make sure the most important emails will never be missed.
Distraction: Online Ads, Pop-ups, and Auto-play Video
Solution: A System-level Ad Blocker, like StopAd
Unless you’re using a high-quality ad blocker, you are being exposed to hundreds of online ads every day, or more. Most of these ads are aggressive, manipulative, and highly annoying.
Even if you have banner blindness, chances are good that online ads contribute to your distraction problem.
There is good news, though, This problem is easy to solve.
Install a system-level ad blocker to enjoy an ad-free online experience. Not only will this improve your concentration when you work online, but it will also help you avoid impulsive purchases, (let’s face it: the majority of online ads are manipulative, that’s why we end up buying things we rarely need), and various security threats.
Distraction: Social Media
Solution: Delete Social Apps from Your Mobile Device or Use Page Blockers, like SelfControl or AntiSocial
Social media is the biggest source of distraction for most of us. If you’re not in the club, please get in touch. We need to interview you and learn your secret (I’m not joking. Comment below).
According to statistics, adults spend an average 2.5 hours on social networks daily. For teens, the numbers are even scarier. People aged 8 to 18 spend as much as 9 hours daily on social media activities.
If social media sites are your distraction, you might benefit from using SelfControl or AntiSocial. These apps block access to social media websites and other distracting websites of your choice at your request. Simply choose the websites you want to block and indicate the time period that you want them to remain blocked. Page blockers work wonders for those whose dependence on social media is moderate.
Distraction: Push Notifications
Solution: Disable Push Notifications, or Try Thrive App
Do you always keep your phone with its screen facing down? If the answer is resounding “yes,” just skip this paragraph. You are already one step ahead of the majority of modern people. If you tend to keep your phone within sight, screen up, it’s time to make a few changes.
Push notifications are inherently distracting in nature. Pure interruption. They might be helpful if you only enable them when something is urgent is about to happen, but more often than not, they distract you from the task at hand. Regularly, as in every few minutes or so.
If you are not ready to disable all push notifications, try the recently released Thrive App. It is designed to block notifications, apps, calls, and texts, so you can take a break from the tech madness while reconnecting with yourself and the world around you. What’s cool about this app is that you can make a list of VIP people, and their calls and messages will always go through. Furthermore, this app can send auto-replies to those who are trying to get in touch with you, so they know you are taking time for yourself or that you aren’t ignoring them.
Bonus, this app can save lives if used while driving!
Distraction: Colleagues and Ambient Noises
Solution: Noise-canceling Headphones, like Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II or Similar
Fortunately (or not), modern technology is not yet able to block people in real life. There is no doubt, however, that sometimes people and the noise they make can be the biggest source of distraction you face. If that’s your case either at home or at work, you should buy yourself a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Rumour has it that Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II are the best in the niche.
The intelligent technology noise-blocking headphones use will help you enjoy silence in situations where it seems almost impossible to do so. Technology has made this world so noisy, and technology will bring some silence back.
Technology Is A Cause And Solution To Distraction
As you can see, there are lots of tech solutions to help you put a stop to the distraction madness. There is no doubt that these tools can help you tremendously to limit or stop distraction in your daily life.
However, even the best anti-distraction apps and gadgets will only take you so far. At the end of the day, it all comes down to a conscious decision to stop distraction and lead a life of concentration, mindfulness, and focus.
All the tools reviewed in this article are great weapons, but it’s your willpower and dedication to your goals that play the key role. If your decision to stop distraction is serious, feel free to join StopAd’s #DistractionDetox challenge. We know that forming new habits is never easy, which is why we are building a community of like-minded people so you have the support to keep going and knowledge you can rely on to change.