This is an important blog post: I link to these self improvement articles because they are effective tips. The simplest way to regain focus is to shift towards writing (and creating) instead of consuming content. “News” adds nothing substantial to your workflows or ideas. Slack is the worst offender (more than emails) and end users refuse to understand the given tools to use them effectively to filter out the flotsam.
I wrote extensively about the costs associated with context switching. These, and more, contribute extensively to loss of productivity.
I tried to analyze my own way of working. I quickly noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to concentrate on individual tasks: No sooner had I started a task than I was already doing something else in between – or distracted myself with emails or various news websites. Likewise, I sat at preparing a lecture – and checked the INNOQ Slack channels in between. Furthermore, I continued to write on a slide – and took a brief look at my smartphone to see what’s been happening on WhatsApp or Signal. And since I was holding the phone in my hand anyway, I could read a few news items on BBC News there too.
The author details the simple “to-do’s” to go on an information diet – my suggestion is to focus on automation. For example, I use IFTTT to stream into Twitter without manually posting anything. As again, your entire interaction (and engagement) is determined by an algorithm and that limits its usefulness. It’s the external factor that determines what you are likely to see, and it’s easier to get lost in the sea of discussions which happen randomly (and not in a chronological order). Getting off Instagram or Facebook is relatively easier, by blocking email reminders about contacts you may “missed” or deleting Messenger. WhatsApp is trickier, as it is now intertwined with professional and personal lives. I prefer Telegram, instead with granular notification controls, and limits the draw to my attention, leaving it switched on for high priority contacts (and family). Besides, I blog extensively and restrict email through specific rules/aliases, etc., and I don’t intend to change my over-a-decade old email service provider, Fastmail. Besides, my content consumption happens through Inoreader, and I use YouTube as a time filler for specific podcasts that I subscribe to. Easy.