Question

How do you hide distractions, manage notifications, and stay productive?

Do you track the time you spend on devices and apps? Block distracting websites? Keep "do not disturb" mode turned on?

Got any newfound tricks you've learned to stay focused and productive while working remotely?

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itsjackcohen's avatar
a year ago

I do a few things:

  1. First, read this post. I'm not exaggerating, it changed my life from a productivity/distraction standpoint: https://bit.ly/2W1RqUw
  2. I also set my computer to 'Do Not Disturb'
  3. I disable all Chrome notifications
  4. I listen to Wild Journey's (app) ambient nature sounds or Endel.io while I work
  5. I only allow myself to keep the email tab open for 30 minutes in the beginning, middle, and end of the day.
7 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @itsjackcohen )
a year ago

That post is great. I've "hidden" social network app on the second page of a folder on my phone, and just that bit of extra effort makes me less likely to open them without a reason to do so.

Good call on email, too!

1 point
sebberge's avatar
a year ago

I got a long list of small things that keep me productive, but ill try to keep it short:

These are my main tools for being productive and manage distractions.

6 points
BarleyFarley's avatar
a year ago

Everything here is great. I'd add that I use this to customize my browser tab favicons to gray circles to eliminate the red notification dots in Chrome:

https://github.com/sylouuu/chrome-tab-modifier - toe

And I use this to force my inbox to only refresh at odd hours of the day (9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm):

https://dndemail.com/

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @BarleyFarley )
a year ago

That Chrome tab modifier is super clever—thanks for sharing!

1 point
blister's avatar
a year ago

One of my favorite techniques is to lean further into distractions. I'm naturally predisposed to curiosity and a desire to learn as much as I can about topics that interest me.

I'll start the day binging youtube videos and articles on topics I'm currently passionate about, but I make the best use of this time by absorbing as much material as I can as fast as possible. Every video, audiobook, or podcast I consume is played at 2.5x speed so that I can cram as much raw knowledge into my brain as possible.

By overloading my information consumption this way, I'm able to "burn out" the daily desire to procrastinate as quickly as possible while still getting my fill of external information. This technique is largely responsible for my massive increase in productivity over the past 5 years and I directly attribute to my success.

Consume as much as you can as long as you follow these rules:

  1. The information needs to be about topics that you're currently passionate about.
  2. The information must be consumed at least at 2x speed, but the faster the better.
  3. Go as long as you need to until you're chomping at the bit to actually dive in and do the work. When your brain tells you "it's time", then you'll be naturally motivated to work hard in long, healthy spurts.
5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @blister )
a year ago

Interesting, that's a clever approach! Thanks for sharing!

2 points
iBinGoodhue's avatar
a year ago

Everyday when I wake up I choose one mandatory daily objective and complete it before doing anything else, this keeps me away from distractions and I feel satisfied to have dealt with the most important task of the day, then I'm more into doing less important things because they are easier and quicker to acheive.

5 points
AndyDentPerth's avatar
a year ago

I don't track time formally. I worked from home for years even prior C19 so have a well-established approach. On my desk are three computers with a total of six screens. I tend to have coding on one three-screen computer & keep social stuff on one of the others, along with research & writing docs.

As a solo founder, very remote (Perth, WA), I socialise strongly online mostly via Slack. That's often open but I have notifications disabled for all bar direct references to me.

Twitter I dive into with a "four swipes scroll rule" on both desktop and mobile. I won't let myself go further.

FB and LinkedIn I basically follow notifications only & so that limits involvement.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @AndyDentPerth )
a year ago

That 4 swipes rule is clever, thanks for sharing!

6 screens is intense! Do you have any tools to keep windows organized between all your screens?

1 point
AndyDentPerth's avatar
@AndyDentPerth (replying to @maguay )
a year ago

No I don't have anything in particular. My main dev machine is an old Macbook Retina where I have one screen dedicated to AppCode (a better Swift editing environment with multiple tabs & better nav than XCode), one for XCode (Interface Builder) or iPhone simulators & the other BBEdit where I'm editing docs.
Typically the others will have a Slack window open on one & odd Evernote windows. Plus the issue tracker in a full screen Chrome window where I can quickly jump between related issues.
I use Moom to sometimes organise window tiling to put notes in quarters of a screen.

Touchgram's a fairly complex app for a part-time dev (as a solo founder about 30% of my time is now marketing in some form) so I'm forever looking things up. Even though my milestones are themed, I am still jumping around between a few different APIs and domains as I work on one.

1 point
tmelnychukk's avatar
a year ago

I'm using a couple things:

  • "Toggl" time tracker to see analyze where I spending my time
  • Using pomodoro technique during the work, "Be Focused" app helps me
  • Made black list of websites which is distracting me, and disabled them on my laptop during the day
  • Not reading news at all (only tech ones)
4 points
fhiguera's avatar
a year ago

Setting my mac to do not disturb does the job. I also use scrum to manage my tasks so keeping an eye on the backlog of items assigned to me tends to keep me engaged and motivated to get them done.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @fhiguera )
a year ago

Do Not Disturb is crucial for meetings, too, so random notifications don't pop up while presenting!

1 point
Orr_weil's avatar
a year ago
  1. Put notifications on silent.
  2. Make 1 hour per day to go over emails and messages. Last hour of the day.
  3. During the day. I acknowledge the messages and say I will answer later on.
3 points
Lee_Christoff_'s avatar
a year ago

Phone Apps: I turned off all notifications except for messaging apps.

Laptop Apps: I turned off all notifications and tackle tasks in batches. If I can respond to something immediately, I do it and then archive. If it requires discussion, then I schedule a meeting and archive the message. If it requires dedicated time, then I block off the time on my calendar.

I take a quick break every 90 minutes or so to clear my mind, verify that I'm working on high-priority tasks, and to get energized for when I dive back in.

3 points
akinhwan's avatar
a year ago

I added distracting sites to my hostrc file (on Windows) which adds friction, even on incognito and all browsers. On productivity, I listen to podcasts when I wash dishes, in the bathroom, or falling asleep. I put my phone in a desk drawer or leave it charging tethered to the wall.

3 points
Odybo_amstersam's avatar
a year ago

I turn off any push notification for news! Especially now during covid. Negative thought are making you less productive

2 points
Jodiroga's avatar
a year ago

One of my greatest recent allies to fight distraction is Motion (https://www.inmotion.app/). I love their smart approach to blocking websites. I’ve been using Freedom for 4 years, but I was not fully convinced. Sometimes the blocking process was just too “binary”. The Motion approach really works better for me. 🙏

(I wrote a whole article about it, but it’s in French. 😅)

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Jodiroga )
a year ago

What made Motion better for you, the option to extend the time you use a distracting pap if needed?

1 point
kirubakaran's avatar
a year ago

I use the techniques recommended by Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work" and "Digital Minimalism". One specific habit that has helped me be a lot more productive on a daily basis is "high resolution scheduling" where you make a plan for the whole day and also you log how you actually spend your time, using the same schedule. It was tedious, so I wrote this webapp for myself https://crushentropy.com/ for that. It is like markdown for planning your day. It was just a weekend project and I've used it regularly for the past couple of years and it has made me a lot more productive.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @kirubakaran )
a year ago

That is super cool, thanks for sharing!

Deep Work was a great read for sure.

2 points
lampkemeyer49's avatar
a year ago

What’s really taking an addictive element out of your smartphone is activating greyscale mode. It’s usually located in the accessibility settings.

Further, organize everything in folders on the second page. Only keep non-distracting apps on your home screen.

If you don’t depend on them, delete all social media apps and distractions like YouTube.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @lampkemeyer49 )
a year ago

The weird thing is that OLED screens especially can look really nice in greyscale mode. It's a fun way to see the digital world in a different light.

1 point
SourcedSFHQ's avatar
a year ago

There are a number of great apps that can help with this like Forest.

I find using an app on my phone that prevents me from using it, and putting do not disturb on helps out greatly.

There are a number of great focus playlists on Spotify that I will turn on as well.

Having a quiet space to work in is also important.

I also have three kids who actively work to disrupt this process... so yeah. I try my best. It is not always easy.

2 points
ScottFedonchik's avatar
a year ago

Turn them off from everyone except your immediate family, CEO and CFO.

2 points
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