The following is a guest post from my fellow geeky fitness blogger and friend Mike Sweetman. Mike is a dad, teacher, yoga Instructor, life coach in training, and most importantly a massive geek! I am excited to have him share his thoughts with us, so let’s get started:

So after a brief discussion with Beej or @professorbeej on Twitter I realized that sharing how I setup my phone and tablets to limit distractions could help others. The following are some of the principles I developed for my grade six classroom, in which all students have iPads. I’m afraid some of these guidelines may not be very popular (they aren’t with all my students), but if you give them a try, you may just find you’re one step closer to having Jedi-like focus.

Force Focus Your Home Screen:

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This is something that a lot of people don’t really consider. If you want to be able to use your phone to be productive, then you need to setup your apps in a way that they aren’t distracting.

So for me this looks like having only a few essential apps on my home screen. You can see in the photo that I have settings, my calendar, a calculator, camera, Chrome, Evernote, and photos. That’s it. No games, no social media, and no reading or viewing content apps like YouTube.

I can quickly open my phone or iPad and input an event in the calendar, take a photo, or add something important to my ‘to do’ list in Evernote. And I can do this, and then get back on task without being as tempted to check my favourite social media app quickly, or play that mobile game.

I know some of you are thinking, well that is silly because it is still easy to get to the other apps. I think however that not seeing those distracting apps on the home screen when you are trying to actually be productive with your phone can make a big difference!

Don’t Fall to the Dark Side: Notifications…

Imagine this: You’re at work late on a Friday, and you pick up your phone to record a few important upcoming events for next week.

When you open your phone you see Star Wars has updated their Instagram page. So naturally you check it out. Turns out there is a new trailer for Star Wars Rebels. So you watch the trailer in the YouTube app. Once you’re finished with the trailer YouTube recommends you check out some fan reaction videos, so you do.

Ten minutes later you realise you were trying to input dates into your calendar, and now you are going to be late getting home on a Friday.

You are frustrated and pissed at yourself.

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I’m sure we’ve all been in a similar situation. And these moments of distraction cause stress. And most of us don’t need any extra stress in our lives.

So turn off your notifications!

It won’t kill you! Take the no notification challenge for 24 hours.

It could change your life…

Buffering:

Limiting distractions can help you stay off your phone, but you should also reflect on how much time you spend on your phone when you’re feeling down.

Whether you are feeling anxiety about your job (and who doesn’t), or you are feeling overwhelmed with everything life is throwing at you.

It is easy to avoid all of this by being buried in your phone.

So make sure you take the time to deal with anxiety, fear, anger, or other emotions. Don’t just avoid them by distracting yourself with your phone. Keep in mind also this isn’t something most of us do consciously, so if you’re spending extended time on your phone, then you need to be asking yourself why?

For some tips on dealing with emotions, and getting your mindset right checkout my post on “Thinking like a Jedi” here.

Determine your Reality

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One of my favourite quotes from Star Wars comes from Qui-Gon Jinn talking to Anakin Skywalker: “Always remember…your focus determines your reality.”

So do you want to be stressed by a distracting phone, or focused as a Jedi? Turn off those notifications, so you can determine your reality. I know you won’t regret it..

If you enjoyed this article please consider checking out my latest project: Howtoforcefocus.com. A website dedicated to helping you focus your thoughts like Jedi, so you can stop overeating, and experience permanent weight loss.

Thanks to Beej for letting me share my thoughts with you all! Stay healthy and stay geeky.

Photo credit: Lady with phone byjseliger2 and jedi by M@rcello 🙂

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