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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 July 29, 2020

              19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

              19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

              Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

              There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

              This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

              1. Todoist

                Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                Download: Todoist

                2. 1Password

                  You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                  1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                  You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                  Download: 1Password

                  3. Bear

                    Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                    It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

                    Download: Bear

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                    4. Hazel

                      Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                      For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                      Download: noodlesoft

                      5. Alfred

                        Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                        For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                        It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                        Download: Alfred

                        6. TextExpander

                          TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                          For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                          An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                          Download: TextExpander

                          7. Backblaze

                            If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                            Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                            Download: Backblaze

                            8. Keyboard Maestro

                              Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                              Download: Keyboard Maestro

                              9. Snagit

                                There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                10. Bartender

                                  Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                  If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                  Download: Bartender

                                  11. Otter

                                  Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                  Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                  Download: Otter

                                  12. Flux

                                    Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                    Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

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                                    Download: Flux

                                    13. PDFpen

                                    If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                    PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                    Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                    14. OmniFocus

                                      OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                      It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                      A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                      Download: OmniFocus

                                      15. Franz

                                        It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                        Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                        Download: Franz

                                        16. MindNode

                                          If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                          The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                          Download: MindNode

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                                          17. Focus

                                            The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                            This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                            Download: Focus

                                            18. CleanMyMac

                                              Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                              Download: CleanMyMac

                                              19. Grammarly

                                                A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                Download: Grammarly

                                                The Bottom Line

                                                These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                More to Boost Productivity

                                                Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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