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Earlier this year I experimented with using a dumb phone to fight phone-based distraction. But as I mentioned at the end of this video, that experiment ended in failure. I found that for me the downsides of using a dumb phone outweighed the benefits.
I went back to using an iPhone.
Nevertheless, my quest continued. I still felt compelled to tame my phone into a device that actually serves my productivity instead of being a hindrance with its constant interruptions and time-wasting temptations.
Last week I featured an article about settings for taming your iPhone, and I thought I’d show you how I’ve been implementing some of the ideas from that guide.
Here’s my latest attempt at an iPhone setup that maximizes productivity while minimizing distractions.
What’s Not Allowed
I’ve created some rules to make sure I don’t install distracting apps.
- No games
- No email apps
- No social media
These are some of the settings I’ve changed to make my phone as undistracting and unappealing as possible.
- Black background
- Grayscale interface
- No notifications (except for maps, messaging apps, and calendars)
- Always on Do Not Disturb
Designing your home screens is like setting up your desk. What’s visible will get used. Here’s how I’ve set mine up.
- Heavily reliant on widgets (saves me a tap + gives me instant information)
- Only apps that actually help me achieve my aims are on the Home Screen
- Most apps are buried in the App Library so I have to intentionally search if I want to use them.
Here’s what my 3 screens look like right now:
As our lives are increasingly filled with devices that are intended to distract us, the only way—short of removing these devices from our lives altogether—that we will make progress on our priorities is by being intentional in how we use these devices.
I’m currently editing a video that explains this setup more deeply along with each app I’m using and why. It will also demonstrate how to do something similar on your own phone. That should be out next week. Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.
Now let’s get into the Roundup!
Why We Sleep (And the God Who Doesn’t) (3 mins)
“God will never take his eye off the ball; he will never drift off and fail to watch over and take care of his people. His people can rest, because he won’t.”
(Nick Tucker / Core Christianity)
New Study Confirms the Value of Solitude (2 mins)
“We fear solitude, but it’s exactly this time alone with our own thoughts that we need to make sense of our experiences and grow as humans. TikTok is fun, but grappling with the core questions of our existence is fundamental.”
(Cal Newport / Study Hacks)
Habit trackers: does tracking your habits actually work? (7 mins)
“One of the key advantages of using a habit tracker is that it allows you to visualise your progress and identify any recurrent setbacks. This form of metacognition can help you adapt your approach and keep on improving your habit formation strategies.”
(Hannah England / Ness Labs)
How Often Do You Think About Heaven? (6 mins)
I’m convinced the hope of heaven is a massive blind spot for the modern church. And it also happens to be one of the chief motivators for us to lead a fruitful life for God. This article shows just how much of a neglected topic it truly is.
“I thought to myself, ‘No, no, this translation must be off. Paul wouldn’t ground his thanks in the hope laid up for the church in heaven, would he? He must mean to say that he thanks God for their love for all the saints, and their hope in heaven, because of their faith in Christ Jesus.’”
(Nathan Knight / Desiring God)
The 24 Best Productivity Apps in 2022 (12 mins)
This is a massive roundup of productivity apps. Many of these I hadn’t even heard of.
🖋Quote of the Week
“Amateurs think disagreements are threats. Professionals see them as an opportunity to learn.”
– Shane Parrish
Resurfaced with Readwise.
- Protect your soul with screen accountability software. Try Covenant Eyes free for 30-days with promo code “ROSE”
- Redeem your commute by listening to audiobooks from Audible. Listen free for one month.
- I use Freedom every day to block distracting apps and websites across all my devices so I can get more done.
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⌛️That’s all for this Week
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I’ll see you next time!