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Get Distracted No More: Disable Automatic Alerts from Social Media

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Get Distracted No More: Disable Automatic Alerts from Social Media

Distraction

    I have the attention span of an ADHD goldfish off of its Ritalin, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Well, OK, I am a little ashamed, but shame doesn’t make it any less true. This is why I have to go the extra mile when I work to make sure all possible distractions are at least reduced, something that is hard to do in a job requiring the procrastination-encouraging Interne, not to mention my mobile phone and other potential threats to my focus.

    We have to overcome these distractions for the sake of our collective productivity, not to mention our general sanity and ability to relax, both of which can be badly impacted by technology. Just think of the stress that could be avoided by getting away from the little phone chirps when you get a phone message or the alert telling you of a new email.

    Last year, Dr Larry Rosen wrote an article for Psychology Today titled ‘Rewired: The Psychology of Technology.’ He and his team found that the average middle school student was focused and on task for only three minutes at a time when studying. That is a startling figure, showing how intensely distracted they were by their smartphones, computers, and other technology.

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    If we were to look at ourselves and our peers, it is almost certain that adults would suffer in much the same way. While you would hope that the older generations would have greater discipline to fight off procrastination, we all know that just isn’t the case. Most of us suffer from the same problem, and alerts make it even worst.

    The best thing to do is shut off all notifications that automatically alert you to distractions. Which notifications cause the most issues and should be shut off?

    Disable Push Notifications from Social Media Apps (iPhone)

    Disable Push

      Here we have perhaps the greatest culprit of distraction today. People check their phones everywhere, whether they are at home or in public. You see people texting in their cars, a dangerous practice that has led to the biggest PSA campaign involving automobiles since drunk driving ads. We simply have our phones with us everywhere, all the time, and use them way too much.

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      Turning off your mobile alerts can save you a whole lot of distraction. Now comes the important part: put the phone away from you. Just because your alerts are off doesn’t mean you won’t reach for it. In fact, you may reach for it more to check and see if any alerts have come in that you missed. The temptation can actually become worse.

      I always put my phone in another room with the ringer turned on high when I am working. This allows me to hear if an emergency call comes in, but keeps me from constantly looking at it. Plus, out of sight is out of mind, so I am more focused on the task ahead of me. Even putting it across the room and out of easy reach is effective.

      To disable push notifications from social media apps, go Settings -> Notifications and scroll around the multiple options.

      App-specific tips:

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      • Official Facebook app: On your iPhone go to Settings -> Facebook -> Disable “Vibrate” and “Play Sound” options
      • Official Twitter app: No push settings to change.

      Disable push notification

        Email Notifications

        Mail

          I have a notification addon set on Firefox that tells me every time I have an email from any of my accounts. It then lets me click on the button to be taken to that particular account, keeping me signed in, even when I have multiple email addresses from the same mail client. It is my favorite extension I have, even more than the one that blocks all the autoplay ads on websites.

          Most people reading this probably have some version of the program, even if it is just Outlook express configured to pull all emails to the same place. They are great, efficient, and easy to use. They are also horribly distracting, as they continually let you know when anything from an important message, to a customer, to a spam message has come in.

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          Here are some tips for making email notifications from social media less distracting:

          Get A Site Blocker

          LeechBlock

            All of this is fine and good, but it still all comes down to self control. If you are really struggling to focus, why not get yourself a site blocker? Programs like StayFocused and LeechBlock are extensions that allow you to limit the amount of time you can spend on a site, or block it completely.

            You simply specify what times/days you want it blocked and how much time you are allowed to spend on each site in a day. Or try the nuclear option that locks out your blocked sites, all but your allowed sites, or even all websites for a certain number of hours you have chosen.

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            Unclutter
              Declutter

              In the end, you have to make the decision to improve your focus. The very idea of how much it will improve your productivity should be enough to convince you. But if you need another reason, how about the refusal to be a slave to technology? Sure, tech advancement is an incredible boom for the human race, but we need to learn how to regulate its use in our own lives.

              Get started doing so today, with the baby-step of not allowing it to constantly distract you.

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              Last Updated on November 25, 2021

              How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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              How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

              There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

              Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

                What Does Private Browsing Do?

                When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

                For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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                The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

                The Terminal Archive

                While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

                Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

                dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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                Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

                Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

                However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

                Clearing Your Tracks

                Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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                dscacheutil -flushcache

                As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

                Other Browsers and Private Browsing

                Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

                If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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                As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

                Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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