5 Procrastination-busting smartphone strategies

You can lose precious hours doing offers and goofing around on your own smartphone or other mobile device. Such distractions can kill your focus and productivity.

Nevertheless, you don’t need to switch off your phone or chuck it out a window to obtain additional work done. From scaling back your notifications to timing your tasks, examine these five strategies for utilizing a smartphone while still moving steadily toward your business goals:

1. Prune your notifications. Your smartphone and several of its apps are made to grab your attention with numerous kinds of notifications — icons that come in your phone’s status bar, sounds, flashing lights and vibrations.

Whenever your phone notifies you of something, you will possibly not have to immediately respond. Consider whether that alert really deserves your attention. If not, take the time to determine whether you can change that notification off.

To get this done, check the settings for the app that’s generating that alert. For example, the neighborhood recommendation app Yelp enables you to completely switch off all notifications for check-ins and comments linked to your Yelp activity. Foursquare’s settings also enable you to switch off all notifications or prefer to get notified by e-mail instead of through a status bar icon and sound or vibration.

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2. Switch off app auto-sync. Some apps make it surprisingly hard or impossible to disable visual status bar notifications. But there is one method to control those: Set your apps to sync manually instead of automatically. "App syncing" is when an app accesses the web to see whether there is new information for you personally from that service — including the Gmail app checking for new incoming e-mail, or Instagram checking whether anyone has liked or commented on all of your photos.

Some smartphones, especially Android, enable you to do that in the operating-system settings, so it pertains to all the accounts you utilize on your own phone, including email and social media. Also, most apps enable you to switch off auto-sync from within the app settings, or specify the auto-sync interval. Setting nonessential apps to auto-sync only one time every few hours, instead of every 15 minutes, can help reduce unnecessary distractions.

Apart from minimizing visual distractions, disabling app auto-syncing has two extra procrastination-fighting benefits:

• You can choose when you wish to check on email, or Facebook or Instagram — those apps don’t keep nagging you.• You now must take a supplementary step to check on what’s new with those apps — that will be a helpful hurdle with regard to your productivity.

3. Track your targets. There are many of mobile to-do list tools, but these may fuel distraction by reminding you of all "busy work" that can be found to dive into.

If your to-do list doesn’t appear to assist you to focus, try tracking goals rather than, or furthermore to, your tasks or projects.

What’s the difference? An activity may be "Contact client X about overdue invoice." An objective will be "deposit $15,000 in earnings this month." You might find that setting an objective for a certain time frame and tracking progress toward it boosts your motivation.

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Many apps will help you track goals. On Android, GoalTracker is a free of charge option. On the iPhone, try iGoal By Time (free) or Goal Meter (99 cents). Test out various apps to find one which motivates you to do something. It can help to keep your targets as simple and concrete as possible.

In the event that you end up using both an objective tracker app and an activity manager app, don’t duplicate your tracking efforts and create more busy work.

4. Track your mood. If you are stressed, depressed, frustrated, bored or worried, it is usually harder to get things done. Apps that assist you to track your moods can spot patterns and discover methods to keep your mental and emotional outlook positive and ready to use it.

For the iPhone, try MyMoodTracker (free) or iMoodJournal (99 cents). For Android, there’s Moodlytics or Mood Meter (both free).

When working with these apps you can usually select a term that describes your mood from a listing of options and specify how long you have felt that way. You can even note everything you think triggered that mood, everything you were doing at that time or where you were and whom you were with. Some also enable you to track factors that may relate with mood, like the time you ate or your sleep patterns.

The apps then provide tools to assist you spot patterns. For example: "Wow, every evening I sleep significantly less than seven hours. Personally i think grumpy another morning and do not get much done!"

5. Time your tasks. Time management alone rarely solves chronic procrastination, nonetheless it can help. Apps such as for example TaskTimer (iPhone, $1.99) or PomLife (Android, free) — or perhaps a simple stopwatch app — will help you adhere to task schedules or tackle big projects a bit at the same time.

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