João Landeiro

new product development for consulting companies

Productivity for distracted people | Goals vs Habits

Being always connected to the world is amazing. But also very expensive. Expensive in terms of time and mental bandwidth.

Smartphones are the main culprit of our current state of permanent distraction, so if we are to regain our attention back, we have to start with them.

If you look online, you’ll find a lot of people trying to curb their smartphone addiction:

  • Some uninstall a few apps
  • Some install apps that limit the time you can spend on selected apps
  • Some go back to feature phones or entry-level, not very powerful, smartphones. I’ve tried this but needed the Uber app and could not run it on the cellphone I had.
  • Some modify their smartphones to be less addictive.

I’ve tried the last method and for the past three weeks, it has helped me immensely.

What I’ve done is to install a “launcher” (I used Android) that radically changes my cellphone interface. It hides most apps and lets me have the most important ones within reach. I can still have Uber, Google maps or any smartphone app I need. But makes it harder to open them. This, combined with me removing social media apps, has turned my phone into something that is still useful as tool, but much less distracting.

Of course there are workarounds and you can find ways to distract yourself, even on a dumb smartphone (e.g. opening twitter on the browser) but the added attrition, makes you more conscious. Being conscious you’re about to open a pit of distraction makes it easier to stop yourself before doing so.