Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Use Software Tools to Lessen Distraction

Most distraction in modern urban life comes from being connected. There is the old fashioned phone and email, and the new fangled Facebook and Twitter.

These distractions can become addictive and prevent you from focusing on what’s important and doing your best work. I’m currently experimenting with using software itself to lessen this distraction.

I use a program called mail-notification on Ubuntu to notify me of incoming email. Since I habitually install OSes several times a year, I install and configure mail-notification as many times. And since this has almost become a habit, I set the check email interval automatically to 1 minute. I want to be informed of the new email as soon as possible. Today I changed this interval to 2 hours. The idea is to be distracted by email only every two hours, not immediately. Two hours is a good interval to start with. Nothing that’s more urgent is communicated via email. I’m planning to increase this interval to 4 to 6 hours in the future.

I also use the Gwibber client to connect to Twitter. I’ve set that interval to 2 hours too. I’m planning to get rid of Gwibber altogether in the future. But I’m not sure about that. Perhaps a 4 to 6 hour check interval for Twitter will be adequate.

Do you also use software tools to lessen distractions? If so which ones? And how? Leave your comments.

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