Mathematics, philosophy, code, travel and everything in between. More about me…

I write about

3 quick tips for reducing distractions

Ironically, you could spend hours reading all about focused work and blocking distractions. It’s a very trendy blog topic these days. This article is not like that. The following tips are extremely simple and will take you 1 minute to read and 3 minutes to implement.

1. Filter unimportant emails

Create a folder called unimportant in your mailbox. Then set up a filter that will move any low priority messages there the moment they arrive. This mostly applies to emails from social networks and other types of notifications. Your inbox will be less cluttered and you can go through the unimportant messages in one go when it is convenient.

This is how you do it in Gmail:

Move all Twitter notifications to the unimportant folder

I set up filters for Twitter, LinkedIn and Meetup notifications, mailing list digests and so on. These messages are not completely useless but they rarely require prompt reaction. Reading them once every couple of days is enough.

2. Cut down on notifications

Disable sounds, popups and bouncing icons in Skype, Mail, Twitter, and similar. The red icon badges are enough.

Disable visual Skype notifications

Better yet, turn off any communication programs you don’t need, instead of letting them run in the background all the time.

3. Truly silence your phone

This one is simple. Disable vibrations when your phone is in silent mode. You can keep it on your desk when you work and check the screen when you want to. Not every time a notification arrives. There will be no sound or vibration to attract your attention. Silent is silent.

Disable vibration in silent mode

For an even better effect, put your phone screen down when you work.

September 6, MMXIV — Life lessons.