Today’s Solutions: December 08, 2023

If you’re able to make it through the day without falling victim to unnecessary distractions, then you have no need to read any further. But if you’re like most of us who find their attention is constantly being tugged on by different distractions, then we have a few tips for you here that will help you regain the upper hand over smartphones, social media, and whatever else is disrupting your focus.

First tip: Turn off your notifications. In Nir Eyal’s new book, Indistractable, flight attendants who were smokers we’re polled about their desire to smoke at specific intervals during the flight. Some were on a four-hour flight and others on a nine-hour flight. If the desire to smoke was merely biological, they should have increased cravings at the same time. Instead, the study found that those on the shorter flight had their desire increase significantly within the last hour of the flight. Those on the nine-hour flight did not have cravings halfway through, presumably because they knew it was not an option. No opportunity, no distraction or craving. The same thing goes for notification. Turn off all those buzzes and pings, and you’ll lose the craving to check your phone.

Second tip: Question the intention of your distraction. Instead of mindlessly browsing Reddit or checking facebook, ask yourself: Why do I need to be on social media? How long will it take? Can I afford to lose that time? Once you answer these questions, you might very well be less tempted to indulge in distractions.

Third tip: Remind yourself what you’re missing. An integral part of distractions is that they eat up chunks of your day, which might mean you end up working later or on the weekends. Remind yourself what you might miss by taking more time than necessary on work because of distractions—and then steer clear of them.

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