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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.

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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 December 18, 2020

              Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

              Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

              Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

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              This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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              Creating technological solutions transparently

              This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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              Technology as the connecting tool

              Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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              “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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