We’re all distracted by something these days, usually by what’s on our wrist, or what’s being held in the palm of our hand.

The first week of this month was a booked off holiday, and so the first day it began, I cut myself off from social media, WhatsApp, and slowly came back to them over the last few days of the holiday.

I discovered a few things doing this.


‘I never noticed how boring this game really is.’

You notice a massive variety of things. It reminded me of a Simpsons episode when Homer attempted a month without Duff Beer, and sitting in a stadium one day watching baseball, he was noticing how boring the game was to him without alcohol.

In a way, the feeling was exactly the same, and it was bizarre. The watch also felt slightly handicapped, as it wasn’t going off every quarter of an hour with notifications from the three main social networks.

It was there to give me the time, set a timer for what I was cooking, my activities, and that was mainly it.

Once Tuesday arrived, I slowly brought some apps back on, and Facebook was still the same. I could write a PHD on that social network, but perhaps that’s for another time. My ‘unannounced’ disappearance was even noticed by a few, and then, the same statuses appeared once again. Then after one too many, I shut it off again for the following weekend.

Sometimes, we all need to just hibernate, shut the curtains, and not be disturbed. You can get a new outlook on certain things, and have plans formed in a near-instant. It’s even a bit concerning when you’re on the outside looking in, with such a dependence on social networks that you notice with some people always on their devices.

Another big help which got rid of some temptation, was an app called ‘Self Control‘. I found this reading one of Matt Gemmell’s articles on ‘Working From Home‘. I first used this as I was near to finishing an assignment way back of May last year. This app blocks any web address for a certain amount of time, and even if you restart your laptop, you still won’t have access to it. Having Facebook and WhatsApp Web blocked is a great incentive, you catch yourself out clicking on the bookmark and finding it not working. I must have done this three times over. Once the timer runs out, you hear a notification and you can access the site again.

If you need to complete any works, this will be a great help.

But primarily, discipline will be the key here. Focus on what you want to do, and just zone out from everything around you. You’ll discover some ideas, or better ones to others you thought you were finished with.

So when you have a couple of days free, try it out, you’ll be better off for it.