As part of Thought Readers business book club, we read Distracted by Nir Eyal. The book provides real life strategies for getting past the multitude of distractions we face in our work life, personal life and throughout the day and night.
I very much enjoyed the book and loved the resources. I was shocked to not have heard of so many of these resources as I’ve read quite a few books about productivity and put many of these ideas into play – e.g. time blocking my calendar (more on that on the blog), using a timer to work for 20 – 40 minutes at a time, taking a break, and working again, etc.
Here are some of the resources that I have set aside to look into (but haven’t reviewed all of them yet, due to… distraction!):
- News Feed Eradicator for Facebook – do you have the intent to perform a specific task on Facebook (share something with a group you are in, post something for sale) but before you can complete that task are sucked into the latest photos from your friend’s trip? This browser (Chrome) extension replaces your newsfeed with an inspirational quote. As I mentioned, I haven’t tried it yet so I would imagine you have to disable the extension when you truly want to view your Facebook feed – or consider only allowing yourself to browse Facebook on your mobile phone. Browser Extension.
- Todobook – another browser extension (for Chrome) that turns the Facebook News Feed into a to-do list. It also works for LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Product Hunt, and Hacker News (I successfully have avoided researching what Hacker News is… for now!). Once you’ve completed all your todos you can use News Feed again. If you need a break, you can disable Todobook for the day via the Todobook icon in your browser’s toolbar. Browser Extension
- Newsfeed Burner is a browser extension similar to the previous ones but it also works with YouTube in addition to LinkedIn and Facebook.
- DF Tube (Distraction Free for YouTube™) – this browser extension (according to a reviewer) “hides EVERY ANNOYING YouTube feature, including automatically playing when a page loads”
- Ksafe – this one is not a browser extension but a lockable box which contains a timer. What’s the connection to working? Some of us tend to eat as a means of distraction. Locking up those sweet treats for a specific period of time (1 minute to 10 days). Others may put phones in the box for a couple of hours while running errands.
- SelfControl – an app for Macs that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
- freedom – similar to SelfControl but works on mobile as well as desktop, Android as well as iOS. Freedom blocks distractions on all of your devices and you can start sessions on-the-fly or schedule your Freedom time in advance and plan sessions that recur daily or weekly.
- Forest – Whenever you want to stay focused, plant a tree. Your tree will grow while you focus on your work. Leaving the app halfway will cause your tree to die. Forest team partners with a real-tree-planting organization to plant real trees on Earth – Trees for the Future.
- Focusmate – during our current pandemic, this might be a good option for people who need a buddy – whether it is to ensure you remain committed to the time allocated to read, study, write or exercise, you can find a “mate” anywhere in the world with whom you can work quietly in tandem and experience the power of human accountability.
- Stikk – If none of these are working for you, maybe you need to put your money where your mouth is? In Indistractible, Nir shares a study about three groups of people who would like to quit smoking. The most successful of the three groups are those that had to put some money down in a commitment to quit smoking. If they were successful, they got their money back (Plus a bonus). Interestingly, this group was more successful than the group that just received a reward without having to put money down.
A couple more that are mentioned on Nir’s website that I’ll be looking into:
Echo smart reminders – to remind me to do some stretches throughout the day
Downtime – part of screentime in iOS. Could be used to ensure you do not use Facebook during hours that you are supposed to be sleeping for example.