Since the world doesn’t seem to be getting any less distracting, it’s up to us to take charge of what we take in. That often means turning things off, even if that’s not popular. We may tell ourselves that pings, dings, vibrations, and lights aren’t affecting our focus or efficiency, but research proves otherwise. A study in 2015 from Florida State University and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance concluded that “mobile devices can disrupt attention and performance even if one does not interact with the device”.

Below are some ways you can take control of your time, energy, and emotions while reducing internal triggers like uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and fatigue:

  • Break the habit of watching the news. Almost all news is irrelevant. It used to exist to inform us but now seems to also seek to CONform us. Most of the time the news is nothing but a distraction pretending to be useful.
  • Establish a “do not disturb” rule with friends and family during meals, before a certain time in the morning, and after a certain time in the evening. (emergencies are the only exception)
  • Smartphones are getting smarter. Take advantage of apps that report your weekly screen time, or help you establish wind-down schedules for the evening and ways to move with ease into your day.
  • Disable any device notifications that you can check on as you wish (weather, social media, email)
  • Enable only BADGE Notifications (red dots or numbers on icons)
  • A general rule of thumb: If it is not something that adds value to your life today, or helping you be at your best, you probably don’t need to see or hear it.
  • Decide what kind of life you want to live and how you want to spend your time. At the end of your day, would you be pleased or appalled to see how much of it was spent focusing on details that not only have no bearing on your life but are distracting you from being the person you want to be?