To focus on a task, we need uninterrupted time. No phone calls, no notifications, no distractions. It’s getting more and more difficult to work and not be disturbed every few minutes.
Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to creating an environment when I can really focus. One thing I do is put my phone on Do Not Disturb. Only when I am expecting an important phone call, I unmute it. But it’s not enough. Even the “mere presence of one’s own smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity”. So I started hiding my phone in a drawer when I work.
Another thing I noticed is that some days I receive an email every 15-30 minutes. Now that my phone is on silent mode, it no longer distracts me. But I use Checker Plus for Gmail that shows me a red envelope in my browser’s toolbar if I get an email. When I work on my computer I either work in my browser or have it open on my second screen. And every few minutes I would notice that the email icon is red, stop working, check email, and sometimes get distracted by articles or twitter or whatever else. I would get back to work after, say, half an hour, and need another few minutes to remember what I was working on.
I found out though, that it’s easy no disable Checker Plus notifications for any period. And I disabled them indefinitely. Now I only check email a few times a day, mostly in the evenings. I am still too used to checking email often but I plan to limit it to just 2 times a day.