Technology has helped change the world and the invention of mobile phones has brought about connectivity, yet there are opinions that our devices have only reduced attention spans and made users more distracted.

When you hear the word distraction, your mind may go to social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or any other platforms that you enjoy. Whichever way you want to put it, mobile phones and their content can be a huge distraction especially when you are trying to get some work done at the office or home.

For example, have you ever tried to finish up on a school project or planned to browse about something and noticed the hours have gone by and you were simply surfing the net or binge-watching YouTube videos? Yes, this is the reality for many individuals.

According to the World Bank and African Development Bank report, there are 650 million mobile users in Africa, surpassing the number in the United States or Europe. In some African countries, more people have access to a mobile phone than to clean water, a bank account or electricity, the international banks added

Now, this discovery shows that a popular majority own smartphones and that means more and more people are on the path to distraction. However, it is important to note that as much as these devices can tamper with your focus, they can also help you stay productive and ensure success every day. How, you may ask? Let’s show you.

Optimise your home screens/notifications

If you want to ensure productivity daily, it is advisable to start with the first page that you contact before scrolling to other aspects of your phone.

“It helps to think of your home screen as a toolbox. If you were preparing to perform a home repair job, you’d want to be able to find the tools you use the most with a minimal amount of thought and effort. If your toolbox is a disorganised mess, you will waste valuable time digging around every time you opened it.

“Your home screen is no different. And unlike iOS, Android doesn’t limit you to a static grid of square icons. You can lay things out in any way that works best for you, employing a mix of app shortcuts, widgets, and — critically — blank space, “Computer World says in a post.

Also ensuring that notifications are well managed is an important step to consider. Have you ever decided to reduce screen time but a beeping sound from WhatsApp or Twitter draws your attention to a conversation online? Before you know it, you are scrolling and binge-watching for two hours straight.

“Most notifications don’t serve you – they serve the app developer. When you use those apps, they make more profit for developers (for example, it allows ads to be shown that you view or click on). Notifications like “Your friend XY just added a new post…” have no benefit to you, so the best idea is to reduce them,” Reddit notes.

Use reminders

Due to constant distractions, it is advisable to set reminders and make lists. You can peg each task with alarm ringers so that you can affect time blocking.

Indeed advises “Try setting reminders on your cell phone to help you keep track of tasks. Consider scheduling reminders in your calendar app or through your voice-activated personal assistant.

“You also can set location-based reminders that send an alert to do a certain task when you’re in a specific location. For example, you can tell your phone to send a reminder to email your client back when you get to your office after setting the address of your office as ‘office.’”

The CEO of Life Hacks, Leon Ho says, “Have a list of tasks you want to complete each day. Then, allocate time to achieve each task.

“If you are an ardent follower of to-dos, create one and cross off each task you complete. Don’t forget to allocate break times. That way, you can be sure of a realistic schedule.”

Computer World noted that most Android devices have an impressive memory.

“Google maintains a spectacular cross-platform reminder system that’s integrated directly into your phone, and it can be an invaluable productivity tool — that is if, you remember to use it.

“Anytime you need to remember something, no matter how trivial, tell your phone — by either typing or speaking into any search box or Google Assistant prompt. Whichever path you take, simply use the format: “Remind me to [whatever]” — followed by the time or place at which you want to be reminded.”

Turn on ‘Do not disturb’ mode

According to Gadget Hacks, if phone calls and text messages are more of a problem, take advantage of the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. You can configure DND to silence all calls, unknown callers, or contacts that aren’t in your favourites. The same options are also available for text messages. All other notifications will arrive silently and automatically, with no vibration or sound.

“You can even configure DND so that you won’t have any clue an alert even arrived, which is essential while using your phone during work, by hiding its status bar icon, notification badge, and more,” Gadget Hack said.

Control screen time

Heliocentrix advised in a post, “Set time limits to certain apps. Some apps on your phone can become a drain on time, whether it is your favourite game, social media or work emails. We have long known about the effects of using smart devices on people’s backs and necks and the effect it can cause on people’s sleep.

“For the last few years, many smartphones have had the option to set limits on the worst offending apps. You can often set this per category or per app and if you want you can still override it.”

In conclusion, staying focused and ensuring productivity can be quite a task but if you follow through by defining your priorities and establishing specific goals for each day or week. You can minimise distractions. Also, it is important to review your app settings and customise them to receive only essential alerts.

Finally, create boundaries for phone usage by setting dedicated time slots for work, study, or other important activities. During these periods, consider using features like ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode or ‘airplane’ mode to minimise distractions.

In all, staying focused with an Android phone requires self-discipline. Stay committed to your goals, stay mindful of your phone usage, and be proactive in implementing strategies that support your focus.

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