🤔 Are You Controlled by Your Devices?

Most of us use various tech devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers daily. They have made our lives easier, providing access to information and global connectivity at our fingertips. However, it’s crucial to ask yourself, “Do I have control over these devices? Or do these devices have control over me?”


🏛️ Learning from Ulysses: The Challenges of Digital Distractions

In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses (Odysseus) knew it would be challenging to resist the temptation of the Sirens’ song. To avoid being lured and wrecking his ship, he had his crew tie him to the mast and block their ears with wax. Like Ulysses, we can take steps to control the siren song of digital distraction.


📚 Indistractable: Gaining Control over Your Digital Life

indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose your Life by Nir EyalNir Eyal’s book, “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life,” offers valuable insights on managing digital distractions. In this post, we’ll discuss some key ideas from the book and provide actionable steps to help you take control of your digital life.

One of the central concepts from Indistractable is the MAP (Motivation, Ability, and Prompt) framework, which Eyal learned from BJ Fogg, Ph.D.

The MAP framework posits that a behavior occurs when the three elements of MAP—Motivation, Ability, and Prompt—converge at the same moment. Motivation refers to your desire to perform the behavior, Ability is your capacity to carry it out, and Prompt serves as a cue or trigger for the behavior.

In other words:

B = M A P

A Behavior happens when Motivation, Ability, and Prompt align simultaneously.

To stop a behavior, you simply need to remove one of these elements. The most straightforward element to eliminate is the prompt, such as notifications, which can significantly reduce digital distractions.


🔕 Silence Notifications and Regain Focus

Notifications hijack your attention and waste your time. Research shows that task switching can cost as much as 40% of your productive time. To regain control, turn off notifications on your phone and computer. Customize settings on your iPhone or Android phone, and adjust notification preferences on your Mac or Windows computer.

Here’s how to do it on different devices:

  • On an iPhone: Go to Settings > Notifications > and turn off notifications from the apps you don’t want to hear from.
  • On an Android phone: Use the Digital Wellbeing app to manage your notifications.
  • On a Mac: Go to System Preferences > Notifications & Focus and turn off the Notifications and set Focus time.
  • On Windows: Select Start > Settings > System > Notifications.

📵 Overcome Phone Addiction with Friction

If you’re addicted to your phone and can’t stop checking it, add friction to inhibit the habit.

Kitchen Safe Time Locking Container, Timed Lock Box for Cell Phones, Snacks, and other unwanted temptationsOne way is to invest in a device like the Kitchen Safe Time Locking Container. Lock your phone inside, set the timer, and you won’t be able to access it until the time is up.


🚫 Stop Endless Social Media Feeds

Endless social media feeds can be a mindless time suck. Use the free browser extension News Feed Eradicator to stop the feed and display an inspirational quote instead.


🌐 Block Distracting Websites

If you constantly check certain websites and can’t stop, use the free Mac application SelfControl or the browser extension BlockSite to block access to those sites for a set time period.


📧 Manage Email Efficiently

Allocate a specific time block to process your emails in batches. This will allow you to engage in deep work and increase your overall productivity.


🔖 Control Your Information Consumption with Read-Later Apps

Install a read-later app like Pocket on all your devices to control when and how you consume information. Save articles to Pocket instead of reading them immediately, and use its text-to-speech function to listen to saved articles while performing less enjoyable tasks such as doing the dishes. 

🎯 Take Action Now

Don’t try to make all these changes at once. Implement one or two of these measures and see if they reduce your digital distractions. Gradually regain control over your devices and enhance your focus, productivity, and overall well-being.