Noise is everywhere in our lives. From commercials, to billboards, to a new crying infant, it is literally everywhere. Some of it is good noise. Some of it is distracting us from the things we want to focus on.
I am doing a couple of things to reduce the number of interruptions in my life and work and I thought I would share a few of them here for posterity.
Just kidding. I am not leaving Facebook. It solves an important problem in my life by enabling me to organize get togethers with friends and family, as well as share my life with them with minimal friction. It also lets me keep up with what they are doing in their lives.
But, it no longer has a place on my phone. It lives on my tablet only. This has reduced my Facebook screen time by an incredible amount and freed me up to do other things. I just don’t feel the need to open it as often now.
StayFocusd is a handy little browser extension that lets me block all sorts of non-work related websites in my browser. Better it lets me have a total of 10 minutes per day on them. Enough time for a quick mental break, but not enough that I am hitting them frequently as an avoidance behavior.
I stay more focused at work and get more done. The only downside is that I am a few hours out of date on the news.
Seriously though, we used to wait until the next day for the news to hit stands anyway. Not a big deal. Well worth the trade off.
Being able to globally turn off notifications for a period of time is one of the best things about OS X. I often flip the switch when I need to really focus on some code and it helps. I can catch up on any fires that are cropping up after I get done with whatever needs deep focus.
Sometimes hiding notifications isn’t enough. I am working on overcoming my fear of missing out by closing apps completely when they present to much of a distraction. So there are times when I close Slack (*gasp*) and Twitter and even messages so I can just work or just spend time with my family.
We’re working on less netflixs/hulu and more art/music in the evening. My wife is a talented musician and we both like to dabble in art. So we are working on shifting our evenings to producing beautiful things rather then just consuming all the time. This is tough. But we have really enjoyed the evenings that we have pulled it off.
I like to produce things... and I never have enough time to create all the things that I want to. Hopefully these changes and others along the way help me to make the time to create them. More important these changes are going to buy me more time, and more quality time with my wife and daughter. Which really is the most important thing I can be doing anyway.