Can you imagine what it would be like to live 500 years ago?
No phones. No ads, except for street vendors yelling “fish!” or “bread!” If you got distracted back then, it was probably from daydreaming or visiting your chickens.
Now, we’re the most marketed to humans in history. On a typical day, you’ll see 6,000-10,000 ads and 65-80 phone notifications. You’ll pick up your phone 96 times… and each time one of those notifications or ads distracts you, it can take an average of 25 minutes to get back on track!
Are we stuck in lives of perpetual distraction, at the mercy of the next flashy notification?
To take back our most valuable resource, our time and attention, it’s wise to limit the influence of notifications on your day. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Clean your notifications
Did you know you can turn off all notifications from any app on your phone? According to the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke, people felt less stress about missing important updates when they saw notifications 3 times per day, rather than turning them off completely. If you do choose to turn them off altogether, you can also set aside time at the end of the work day to check your most-used apps.
2. Give distractions the silent treatment
When you start working each day (or when you’re with those you love!) avoid distractions by putting your phone on airplane mode or turning it off. Your pre-work ritual will help you get into deep work and full focus, so you can give your best attention to the task at hand.
3. Trick your brain with focus tools
You can trick your brain into periods of reduced distraction with the Momentum Pomodoro timer. The Pomodoro timer provides a 25-minute work “sprint” where you’re completely focused on one thing at a time with zero distractions.
Here are the key components of a Pomodoro sprint flow:
The Pomodoro timer is helpful because it’s telling your brain, “It’s time to focus on this one project for a short amount of time. We don’t have to solve any other problem or think about another thing. It will all be there when we come up for fresh air. All that matters is this #1 thing for the next 25 minutes!”
Picking the right focus music is essential. You don’t want music that is too distracting, but it should also be stimulating enough for the level of focus you need. The best focus music does not have lyrics. Simple beats or classical music allow you to zone in. With Momentum Plus, you can try our nature soundscapes, which provide calming white noise for focus sprints.
Take the breaks
Part of the reason the Pomodoro timer works so well is that you know there is a break coming, like a reward for good work. When you reach the break, make sure you really take a break! Go for a walk, have a snack, or do something to recharge.
4. Write down distractions and return later
Inevitably, you’ll have a great idea or remember something important while you’re focused. Keep a notepad handy to jot these ideas and distractions down. You can also use the Notes feature in Momentum to capture your ideas mid-focus.
Let that perfect reply to the group text percolate in the back of your mind while you work… it will all be there once you’re finished!
Take back your time and attention
Don’t be fooled by the little hits of dopamine you get when you see notifications. The real satisfaction comes with knowing you’ve given your best each day, and you’re on track to achieve your goals. Then, the breaks are all the sweeter!