Exorcising distraction

Posted on: 9th April 2021

Last year when I was evaluating my smartphone needs, I was aiming to go for a Pinephone by the end of this year. I still want to although I am a little concerned about the Security issues a linux phone poses. I will cross that bridge when it comes to that but since November last year, I have been trying to reduce my dependence on the smartphone.

What do smartphones have in abundance? Apps. Or more precisely, games in my case. At one point, I had close to 30+ games on my iPhone. Ranging from games that consume hours to games that can keep me occupied if my company left the dinner table even for a minute. I have slowly ditched everything since November except one - lichess. I enjoy their puzzles and really want to learn to play chess properly. Another time sink is fosstodon which provides endless fodder of interesting toots and links to read. Most of the time, I re-direct the content to my personal laptop and catch up with it later. Sometimes the urge to catch up with the timeline when I am away from my laptop is overwhelming since the phone is always on me so I turned off the notifications and started carrying the Kindle along. Now whenever my hand reaches out to the phone for that quick fix, I can read a page or two instead (I started doing this only recently after my success with turning off personal email notifications on the phone for the last month which went extremely well) and thanks to less distractions I was able to finish that telenovela of a book in March. Its not a foolproof solution exactly because nothing is stopping me from checking my email or toots intentionally but I find myself less drawn by the phone so that’s a huge improvement. Apart from critical apps like home security, the only apps that are allowed to have notifications are text apps like Signal, Siskin (XMPP) and iMessage, which aren’t a bother because of minimal activity on these platforms. Even on the laptop I now shut down the email (evolution) and xmpp (Dino) when I am spending my time learning. At other times, the 10 different workspaces (Sway WM) and terminal applications keep everything isolated and allow me to focus on the task at hand.

I have the utmost respect for people who can power through their task even when the world is falling apart around them but for me, the most effective way to deal with distractions (for the lack of discipline 😅) is to completely remove myself from the situation.

Day 100 - Join Me in #100DaysToOffload

tag: 100daystooffload