I was drowning in digital distractions until I adopted these 7 habits

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.
I was constantly distracted until I adopted these 6 digital minimalism hacks

Ever felt like you’re always battling your devices?

I sure have. Slack messages, emails, social media notifications, calls, draft documents..they all add up to more and more digital and mental clutter.

My focus used to be perpetually fragmented.

Until that is, I discovered the power of digital minimalism. 

Now, I wouldn’t call these habits a magic bullet, but they’ve significantly decluttered my digital space and, in turn, my mind. The result has been a boost in productivity and focus that I never thought possible.

Who knows? They might just work for you, too.

Let’s dive in.

1) Turning off unnecessary notifications

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus after an interruption

Knowing this was a game-changer for me. I mean, can you imagine how much time we lose when our devices are constantly buzzing with notifications?

Every vibration is not just a momentary distraction but a significant interruption to our productivity.

So, I decided to do a notification audit. This wasn’t just about silencing my phone; it was about understanding what really needed my immediate attention and what didn’t.

I went through every app, every email subscription, and every alert setting. If it didn’t contribute positively to my life or work, off it went.

Turning off unnecessary notifications is more than just reducing digital noise; it’s about reclaiming your attention and focus.

Since adopting this, I’ve noticed a drastic reduction in distractions, an increase in productivity, and a more peaceful digital environment.

It’s a small change with a big impact. Give it a shot. 

2) Practicing intentional social media use

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with social media. While it’s a great tool for connection and information, it can also be a black hole for time and attention.

Deciding to take control, I began to practice intentional social media use.

It wasn’t just about deleting apps or going cold turkey; it was about becoming mindful of how and why I was using these platforms.

For me, this meant quitting mindlessly scrolling through feeds.

I started to curate who I followed and limit the time I spent on each platform.

My focus has improved, my mind feels less cluttered, and I’ve rediscovered the joy of being fully present in the moment.

This is about more than just reducing screen time; it’s about using social media with purpose and not letting it use you.

3) Embracing single-tasking

Ever found yourself juggling multiple tasks at once, only to feel like you’re not really getting anything done?

That was me, constantly bouncing between tabs and tasks, thinking I was being productive.

Spoiler alert: I wasn’t.

Research shows that our brains aren’t really set up for effective multitasking. In fact, it can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.

Having found this out, I decided to give single-tasking a shot. This wasn’t just about closing tabs; it was about fully immersing myself in one task at a time.

It works. I now work with more focus and tick things off that to-do list much faster. 

Embracing single-tasking is more than just reducing digital clutter; it’s about honing your focus and increasing your efficiency.

4) Screen-free zones

Screens – they’re in our pockets, on our desks, even on our wrists. It’s no wonder we feel constantly distracted.

The solution?

Well, for me, creating screen-free zones really helped.

I made my bedroom a sanctuary for rest and reading, not scrolling. The dining table became a place for conversation and connection, not checking emails.

Creating screen-free zones is more than just reducing screen time; it’s about redefining the spaces in your life and reclaiming their original purpose.

The result?

I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my focus, quality of sleep, and overall sense of peace. Plus, it’s freed up more time for meaningful activities that don’t involve a screen.

5) Implementing a daily sunset

Picture this: It’s late in the evening, and you’re ready for bed, but just before you turn off the lights, you check your phone ‘one last time.’

Next thing you know, it’s way past your bedtime.

Sound familiar?

It was a daily occurrence for me. The constant availability of entertainment, information, and social interaction on my device was eating into my sleep time.

Then, I came across the concept of a digital sunset – a dedicated time each evening when all electronic devices are turned off.

This wasn’t just about getting more sleep; it was about creating a buffer between my digital activities and my sleep, allowing my mind to unwind and prepare for rest.

6) Setting check-in times for email, slack, etc.

In today’s hyper-connected world, the constant barrage of notifications from emails, Slack messages, and other communication platforms can be overwhelming.

This relentless stream of information not only disrupts our focus but also, as noted by the American Psychological Association, heightens our stress levels.

But of course, for those of us who want to keep our jobs we need to check these things. So what did I do?

I adopted a more disciplined approach to managing my digital communications. I now check my emails and messages once in the morning to set the tone for the day, post-lunch to catch up on any midday updates, and finally, before I wrap up my day’s work.

This structured approach has significantly reduced the distraction caused by the constant pinging of notifications, allowing me to concentrate on my primary responsibilities with greater focus and efficiency.

This shift towards a more intentional use of digital tools has not only enhanced my productivity but has also contributed to a noticeable reduction in stress, underscoring the profound impact of digital minimalism in fostering a more balanced and fulfilling work-life dynamic.

7) Digital decluttering

With endless apps, websites, and digital tools, our digital spaces can quickly become as cluttered as our physical ones.

As a writer, I found myself drowning in a sea of unused apps, ancient files, and endless email threads. Every morning, when I would open my laptop, I immediately felt overwhelmed by the clutter. 

Something had to give.

I decided to do a sort of digital spring cleaning. I began to ruthlessly delete unused apps, clear redundant files, and unsubscribe from unwanted emails. 

I thought I do it once and be done but I’ve since realized that this is more than just a one-time clean-up; it’s an ongoing commitment to maintain a minimalist digital space.

Anyway, since embracing this hack, my devices feel lighter, my mind clearer, and my productivity has soared.

The bottom line

In a world buzzing with digital distractions, adopting these digital minimalism hacks can be a game changer.

They’re about more than just reducing screen time; they’re about reclaiming focus, boosting productivity, and enhancing quality of life.

Give them a try. You might just find your digital sweet spot.