Daily Gleanings: Indistractability (4 October 2019)

Reading time: < 1 minutes

Freedom interviews Nir Eyal about his new book, Indistractable. The book provides “a research-backed, four-step framework for how to become indistractable in an age where distraction is always within arm’s reach.”

The interview outlines this framework and suggests that a significant part of the solution should be some kind of time blocking practice.

Daily Gleanings: Freedom for iOS (30 September 2019)

Reading time: < 1 minutes

Per their regular newsletter, Freedom is again able to “block apps, including Instagram and Facebook” on iOS. For the background, see “Daily Gleanings (8 May 2019).”

I’ve yet to see any updates about what has changed from Apple’s side to allow Freedom to again block iOS apps. But the re-opening of this feature is certainly to be welcomed for iOS users who want to use freedom to help cut distractions from their mobile device(s).

For more information or to try Freedom, see their website.

Daily Gleanings: Focus (14 August 2019)

Reading time: < 1 minutes

Evernote discusses four strategies for supporting your ability to focus on what’s most important. The post also provides some suggestions about how to handle days when longer stretches of uninterrupted time for focused work are harder to come by.

In a couple different places recently, I’ve come across favorable reviews of Focusmate (Becoming Better, Lead to Win).

As I understand it, Focusmate provides a virtual accountability system. Users are paired together in 50 minute sessions. They start by sharing what they’ll work on in the session and then otherwise simply work with their webcams on.

I haven’t tried this tool specifically, but for several months now, I have found great value in getting together with a very small group of others for accountability on projects that take focused work—be it writing, doing detailed analysis, preparing translation or whatever. Especially if you don’t readily have a group of folks who want to pool together to do something like this (e.g., if you’re an online student in a remote locale), Focusmate may be a useful tool for you to try to see if it helps when you come down to the hard work of whatever project you’re needing to complete.

Daily Gleanings (9 August 2019)

Reading time: < 1 minutes

Mark Goodacre discusses “sourceomania”—whose definition he abstracts from Morton Enslin as “the unnecessary and obsessional evocation of sources to explain elements in a work at the expense of considering authorial creativity” (1, 2).

Freedom provides an adapted excerpt from Nir Eyal’s, Indistractable, on the nature and importance of focus. The post comments in part,

Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” If checking email for a quick minute takes the pressure off having to think through a big assignment at work, you’ll keep clicking away if you don’t have the tools to realize and deal with the difficulty. If you don’t change your ways, you’ll soon carve a mental rut that teaches your brain to automatically escape hard work instead of working through it.

For more, see Freedom’s original post.

Daily Gleanings: Freedom (22 July 2019)

Reading time: 3 minutes

Freedom interviews Brian Solis about digital distractions and overcoming them to improve your ability to focus. Solis comments, in part,

One big side effect of all this tech-based distraction is a compulsion to multitask. I was surprised to learn just how many negative aspects of multitasking there are.  First, let’s cut through one big illusion—it does not increase our productivity. It actually cuts it by about 40%.

It’s also been discovered that people who multitask do not pay attention, memorize, or manage their tasks as well as those who focus on one thing at a time.

A lot of us are realizing that we have a problem with tech-based distraction and we’re looking for easy techniques and solutions. While I’m all for hacks and techniques that help us focus, they’re not a complete fix. The real solution to our digital malaise involves reflection, spending time cutting through all the things we’re doing, the ineffective ways we’re spending our time, and getting back to our core values, life purpose and a vision of what, for each of us, is a definition of what happiness and success in a modern era looks like.

For more, see Freedom’s original post.

Freedom discusses the value of their tool’s “locked mode,” commenting in part,

Science shows again and again that people who experience less temptation better manage their self-control. Why? Because they aren’t hoping for super-human amounts of will power – they just don’t expose themselves to things that don’t match their goals. In other words, it’s much easier to stop eating cake if you don’t work in a bakery.

How do you limit the urge to scroll, like, and upvote your way through the day?

Enter Freedom’s Locked Mode – the superhero here to deliver you from temptation and help you accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.

For more, see Freedom’s original post.

For some time now, I’ve regularly used Freedom’s “locked mode” on each of my main work devices (Windows PC, Android Phone, Apple iPad). With some additional settings beyond “locked mode” itself, I’ve been able to make it necessary to reboot the PC twice in order to terminate a running Freedom session and get the machine back running again as usual. So, it’s possible to circumvent the system still but it’s enough of a pain to mean that it isn’t something I can do without conscious, deliberate decision.

For more information about Freedom or to try “locked mode” for yourself, see their website.

Daily Gleanings: Avoiding Distraction (25 July 2019)

Reading time: < 1 minutes

Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller discuss how to avoid drifting along without accomplishing what you mean to.

The discussion is directed most immediately at leaders. But as with many such things, there are direct lines of application in other contexts too (e.g., those of us who need to avoid drifting off course from completing a degree or writing project).

Cal Newport discusses digital distractions and how to avoid them on the Entreleadership podcast.