Going distraction-free without losing the smartphone


As long as I can keep zombo.com


I do not understand how Messages makes the cut, but Mail doesn’t.

Too bad self-control isn’t available as an app. You don’t need to uninstall a web browser to avoid its siren song - just don’t listen to it.


I don’t own a smart phone, yet I am perfectly capable of distracting myself with my laptop, my books, my juggling balls, my gaming consoles, my MP3 player, etc.

I’m not sure that eliminating one source of distraction from your life is going to make a difference. How about renouncing all technology and living in a log cabin in the woods?


I guess this is what I have always had.
I for a long time refused to play the data scam game because all I really wanted was a great PDA/computer and had the right apps to do this offline with my phone/SMS being a morphed on feature. I have never had facebrick and I canceled twitter after six months of never finding anything useful in tweeting and never feeling the desire to follow anyone else.
Even now I only turn on Internet when I actually need to check mail or web, at home I use wifi.
The biggest irritant on my phone is the daily reminders to do stuff like water plants.

What I really want is a POCSAG paging module built into my next phone, turn off the data/cellular modem, disappear from the radar but still be in touch. I can turn on the cellular modem if I need to answer a page, there was discussion on the neo900 phone project a while back which even attracted the attention for Richard Stallman.

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What I do is just not ever answer my phone unless it’s my mom. What’s been amusing the last few decades is this notion that being available 24/7 makes you look important or powerful. You know what actually powerful people don’t do? Answer their own phones, ever. Much less while walking down the street or queued up at Starbucks.


I got distracted and didnt read the article so maybe he addressed your point, but that’s how I feel as well. Its not so much that I need to renounce my phone, the problem is that I need to not allow myself to be distracted.

Besides, my phone has allowed me to increase my productivity while I’m on the toilet, before phone I would just sit there like a lazy person until I was finished.

I am kind of a shitty consumer of electronic goods. I resent that my phone is smarter than I am. For work reasons, I had to install email on it, and immediately it’s dinging every time I get junk mail. Every single time.

Too bad I don’t have the self-control to be serene in the midst of constant irrelevant demands for my attention, like @stephen_schenck. I am not yet very enlightened, and still need plenty of quiet.

EDIT: Holy cow, there’s an app for meditation? I think you’re doing it wrong.

I did read the whole thing, but there really isn’t anything to it. Self-congratulation for managing to do away with one distracting piece of electronics is kind of silly, considering how dependent we have become on modern technology. Creating a routine to foster self-discipline seems more worthwhile to me.

What a load of shit. Exercise some self-control people. I love tech. I love teh interwebs. I love my smartphone. The concept that I would be distracted by it when I didn’t want to be is insanely confusing… just put the thing away or don’t look at it. It’s not a chemical dependance. It’s not crack. It’s a tool.

I can understand that the constant notifications are distracting, which is why you turn notifications off for everything that is annoying and DON’T sync your freaking email. Refuse to put work email on your phone if possible and if you absolutely have to use work email on your phone, turn sync off and just periodically check your inbox manually. Setting a minimalist chime for unimportant app notifications, and a longer one for important stuff like messages so at least you can choose whether you’re going to exercise control or not.

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At work, I set the thing down a lot. Nearly once a day I forget where it is — something I’d have never been able to imagine in 2012.


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tl;dr version: “Look at how awesome I am because I use my pocket computer in a way that’s different from you”.

In all seriousness though - some people don’t have self control. And that’s fine. But don’t pretend like it’s a virtue. See also: people who say “I don’t even own a TV, so I have so much more free time than the fat lazy mainstream”. I own several TVs, yet I somehow manage to pull myself away from it from time to time (unless Downton Abbey is on).

I don’t even own a mobile phone, but yeah I already have enough distractions.

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Servants bells used to be in the kitchen. Now we carry them in our pockets, and they don’t even have to house us anymore!!

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