HomeSoftwareMobileBreaking free of STD's (Smartphone Technology Distractions)

Breaking free of STD’s (Smartphone Technology Distractions)


There it goes again. The red light is blinking, a notification pops up or alert sounded. Whatever the case, you just got distracted by your smartphone once again. Anyone who uses a smartphone knows this feeling all too well. The flashing red light, pop-up notification or alert means your smartphone is calling your name, it wants something from you. Better drop what you’re doing and go tend to it now…

Such is the life of a smartphone slave…No one enjoys being one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The alerts, pop-up notifications come at all hours: at home with the family, on weekends, and even while on vacation. Even worse, the blinking red light, pop up notification or the alerts can mean many things these days. Everything from email and text messages, to app updates. It’s all one big distraction, and it takes away from you focusing on your work, personal priorities, and your relationships.

The only question is, who would ever want to be a smartphone slave? Not me…I can tell you that. I hope you feel the same.

Although smartphones have revolutionized the cell phone market, they can unfortunately be very distracting to those of us that own them. Close to 40% of the cell phone market is made up of smartphones, but that number is expected to rise significantly over the next five years as smartphones become more affordable.

As you know, if you are a smartphone owner, it’s super easy to become a slave to them because of all their cool features and functionality. Thankfully, it’s just as easy to shed those technology distraction shackles. The only way to break those chains and free ourselves from STD’s is to condition ourselves. One way we can accomplish this is to set up self-discipline safeguards. If we can’t escape the Pavlovian response to the blinking red light, the pop up notification or the alerts, we have to somehow limit its occurrence. Thankfully, this is easily accomplished on a smartphone.

Here are a couple of key tips on how to do that:

  • If the sound of an alert is what draws you to the device, turn sounds off. If it’s the blinking red light or a pop up notification, flip the device upside down. Maybe you’ll miss something here or there, but unless you’re expecting an immediate response to issues, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.
  • At a regular interval — maybe every 15, 30 or 60 minutes (or whatever works best for you), check your messages. But only check after those minutes are up. What most people find is that they didn’t miss anything that required an immediate response. The sender was quite content to wait the 15, 30 or 60 minutes for the reply. Then work on expanding this exercise into the weekends, and it can extend for hours on end. Set the phone aside and do something with the family or friends. Then, after an hour or two, check to see what you missed. Again, it’s not likely that anything required an immediate response.

Once we free ourselves from STD’s, we can then start to take advantage of its features and functionality and get organized and live simpler lives. Here is just a partial list of functions that our smartphones can help us achieve, for free or at least very inexpensively.

    • Financial Assistance. There are dozens of free banking and budgeting tools. These tools make it easy to make online banking transactions and help keep track of what we spend and so we can stay within our budgets. After all, smartphones come with us everywhere, so it’s easy to write what we spend and compare that to a budget.
    • Workflow control. When we use smartphone technology to our advantage, we control the workflow. Task management and calendars make it super easy to schedule what tasks get done when. And if we turn over our smartphones and put our noses to the grindstone, those tasks get done distraction-free.
    • News filter. With smartphones it’s easy to pull the news items you want to read and leave out all the rest. Set everything to manually update, and you’ll never see an item as a distraction.

The key is to integrate these functions into your daily life, and not have them thrown at you. It’s a thin line between smartphone technology slavery and smartphone technology mastery. But once found, it can have a profound aspect on your life. Using your smartphone for the things you want, when you want them, and not having things thrown at you, is the key to breaking free of STD’s…

Love to hear your comments and feedback. What things have you implemented to keep from being a slave to STD’s?

Bryan Brooks runs the blog, TechSabbathHabit, is an author and technology coach. He owns two small businesses, KB Media Group, LLC,  VITAL Production, LLC and serves as the Director of Technology at The Fathers House Church in Vacaville, CA.

Bryan Brooks
Bryan Brooks
Bryan Brooks runs the blog, TechSabbathHabit, is an author and technology coach. He owns two small businesses, KB Media Group, LLC, VITAL Production, LLCr and serves as the Director of Technology at The Fathers House Church in Vacaville, CA.


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  2. Great article. It took me a bit to get used to this when I got my first BlackBerry about 3 years ago. I now don’t go for the interval method but I go by my current context. I’m a student so my schedule is very flexible. In classes, I turn off anything. Time with my fiance or other social situations, I turn off everything. When those social situations are fairly long, I’ll do something that many make fun of but doesn’t distract me from the social situation: I’ll check in when I go to the bathroom (usually not reply unless it’s urgent). If I’m at home working at my computer, though, I just leave notifications on and respond at the next break I get in whatever I’m doing (end of chapter in reading, etc.).


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