Do you you think will work for increasing focus and reducing distraction on the iPhone?



Intersting take on setting up the iphone for reducing distraction:


Sure, reducing notifications, deleting, or stashing distracting applications in folders will likely reduce the odds that they will distract you.

Everything else I think will have marginal-to-zero returns in terms of increasing focus.
Turning off raise-to-wake

Switching to Google? Give me a break. It would take a LOT of savings to make up the the time it takes for someone to make such a transition (calendars, email, etc). Unless you’re already on google that’s a bad suggestion (in this specific context – you may have other reasons to switch). Switching to Google maps instead of apple maps? I mean, certainly people will have reasons to do this but being less distracted is not one of them. In fact, you could argue that because of the Siri integration and other first-party advantages of Apple Maps, for most users who are in regions with good maps data, Apple Maps is better, not to mention the absence of ads and promoted material pervasive in Google Maps, which certainly could be considered distractions or diversions in the context of this discussion.

The app suggestions are fine, but not silver bullets, and potentially could result in negative returns or increase complexity. In other words, these may well be fine suggestions but not necessarily going to yield benefits, and more than likely going to require additional time, at least to integrate them into your use.

Deep learning etc? Honestly, if you aren’t making the time to read books, listen to podcasts (I’m skeptical of this suggestion as a productivity hack), or meditate, putting those apps on your hoemscreen isn’t going to change that. Deep learning also sounds like… well… BS. Just call it learning.

Almost all the tips in the miscellaneous last category are silly. Change Siri to a male voice because you want “to get comfortable bossing around men”? Perfectly normal idea justified stupidly.

Internalize the ways to talk to Siri? Again, probably a productivity win in some cases but marginally so at the best of times. Also, wouldn’t that, at least in the context of navigation, be contrary to the suggestion to adopt Google Maps?

Change your device name? Waste of time, period. There are plenty of reasons someone might choose to do this but being focused or less distracted are not good ones. Skip this one and use the time you saved to switch Siri to a man’s voice (which is a perfectly fine thing to do but not for the reason the author suggests).

Hide or delete distracting apps, cut out excess notifications, and beyond that, I don’t think there’s much else you can do with your phone to make your life better, the rest is on you. A great task manager or note-taking app aren’t any good if you don’t make the time or develop a system to actually use them and then – and this is critical – actually execute the actions you put in them. Having your screen filled with productivity apps, inspirational quote apps, Kindle and iBooks, meditation apps with expensive subscriptions, and a podcast list full of life-hack podcasts aren’t going to get you anywhere. If anything I think without a good personal commitment to whatever you are trying to accomplish all of these suggestions are going to lead to being “distracted by productivity” and you’ll spend all your time trying to hack your way to productivity rather than actually being productive.

Yes, books and podcasts can be good, can offer inspiration or provide suggestions and methods to adopt, but only in moderation, and only if it is paired with a strong personal commitment. Reading GTD was invaluable, though I continue to be undermined by my own procrastination and poor time management (and reading 20 other books about productivity isn’t going to solve that). I think a list like the author has made here is a great way to make people feel like they are being productive – by checking off each of the 45 list items he provides – rather than actually being productive.

Some good tips, but to answer your question, I think very few of these will work for increasing focus and reducing distraction.


Here are my tips:

  • Silence all notifications.
  • Put the phone into silence mode.
  • Carry it off your person, stashed in your carry bag.
  • Cellular function for only the most needed apps: Maps, Safari… Whatever is absolutely needed when out and about. Download some music to listen to.

It is okay to wait in line/ in the car, etc. without doing anything. Being present to the moment and the people you are with is golden and quite a stress reducer.

Humanity lived far longer without this technology than with it. It is a good tool that has many awesome uses.

Having instant replies isn’t necessary unless young children or the elderly need to contact you for emergencies.

Where I work has a strict phones off policy except at breaks. Emergency? Have them call the main phone.


Not discounting tips and tricks. Use what suits.

Hope this does not come off as arrogant. The situation has a lack of focus component. Your lack, my lack…

One way to curb this is to learn to stop herding rabbits. The rabbits are your scattered thoughts, impinging noise, emails, and pings. Hopping, hopping by…

Learning and practicing a focusing meditation is one way to go. During your practice time the bunnies hop by. You let them go. You go back to your focus point — breath, sound… Again, again, and again…

Repeat until your brain is rewired.

BTW I am not suggesting building magic castles or engaging in the relaxation response.

No apps required, err a timer is useful… windup kitchen or you phone no damn music either.

One way of looking at this. There are others.