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Get Distracted No More: Disable Automatic Alerts from Social Media

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.

            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 October 16, 2019

              11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

              11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

              Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

              Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

              Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

              In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

              1. ScheduleOnce

                ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                Available on Web

                2. Calendly

                  Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                  You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                  Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                  3. Assistant.to

                    For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                    From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                    While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                    Available on Web

                    4. Acuityscheduling

                      Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                      It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                      5. Pick

                        Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                        At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                        Available on Web

                        6. X.ai

                          For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                          This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                          Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                          Available on Web

                          7. YouCanBook.me

                            is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                            They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                            Available on Web

                            8. Doodle

                              Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                              It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                              You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                              While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                              Available on Web | iOS | Android

                              9. WhenAvailable

                                WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                Available on Web

                                10. Rally

                                  Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                  Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                  Available on Web

                                  11. NeedtoMeet

                                    Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                    NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                    While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                    Available on Web

                                    Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                    In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                    To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                    Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                    A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                    Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                    If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                    Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                    With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                    Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                    Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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