Distractions. They’re everywhere and they take us away from the task at hand. Notifications are some of the most common distractions society faces today and they’re a constant reminder for us to check some non-important task. I use to get notifications from almost every app I had installed back in the day. I’d get a notification for every email, apps telling me they have some new feature, Apple’s Breathe app, etc, etc. The list went on and on.

I thought by getting an Apple Watch I’d somehow eliminate the need to keep checking my phone for every notification. As it did lower the amount of iPhone praying1 I’d do in a day, it still would take me away from the task at hand. And back before my girlfriend, Tinder, POF and whatever other dating apps that were available, would be the biggest culprits. I could be distracted from a task at hand for about 20-30mins at a time texting gibberish to random women.

It was insane. I could still get my work done but I’d be rushing everything. I was everywhere mentally. I couldn’t remember girls names without a picture and a calendar contact input that I set up with one of iFTTT’s applets. I was lost. It got better with my girlfriend but I still was being bombarded by friends, family, girlfriend, apps, work emails etc. At night would be the worst, I’d sometimes get a text from an old girl I use to talk to late at night that would make my girlfriend go crazy. That got me hooked onto the Do Not Disturb feature. It helped eliminate a lot of drama.

One day I was reading some blog, I think it was one of Leo Babauta’s posts on Zen Habits. It was talking about distractions and how they just wreck havoc in our lives. I started researching more about this and came upon some chart showing how much we sleep, how much we work, how much free time we have and of that free time how much we waste of it on distractions like our phone and television. The chart was saying we have about 10 years of free time to really enjoy life free from work and sleep. If we account for our distractions however, its more like 5 years.

I woke up right after that and just put my phone in Do Not Disturb mode 24/7. I thought I’d miss something important doing this, but I came to realize I wasn’t missing anything. If a new job called to set up an interview, they’d leave a message or just email me. I would check my emails at my own leisure. My friends would text instead of just calling me because they’d go straight to voicemail. I allowed my immediate family the ability to get through with a call or FaceTime but that was it.

I was so much more free to do whatever it was I had going on. I could get through assignments faster, focus better, workout better and so much more. I’m still working on eliminating more distractions from my life but putting your phone in Do Not Disturb mode is a great first step.

  1. iPhone Praying: when you hold your phone and bow your head to it.