150 Ways You Get Distracted Daily: Apps The Modern Threat to Productivity

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150 Ways You Get Distracted Daily: Apps The Modern Threat to Productivity

Perhaps the greatest versatility of Smartphones was with the introduction of Apps. Today, Apps are one of the greatest hindrances of productivity. There are myriads of apps that can be used daily, yet the most popular apps on use today are not productivity apps, but social media ones”.

Probably you are suffering from Tangential App Disease

The whole wide world wants your attention from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. There is no letting up. It is relentless. One thing that ushers you to your next level is your productivity either today, or with the current project.

  • How excellent has the project been done?
  • How fast has it been deployed?
  • How much time was saved?

If you were to document the amount of time that you spend daily on attending to “notifications” and allocated a Dollar per minute to that time and gave the proceeds to charity, you will be the most generous person of the year! I kid you not.

Technology was supposed to be an enabler, a helper. It was supposed to make things faster, easier,more accurate and precise. Those reasons are good enough for us to purchase vehicles, laptops, cooking and washing machines, remote controlled gadgets and smartphones. The monster of them all is the smartphone. With it, you can access your bank account and move monies around. You can control your vehicle from miles away, shutting down the engine and locking it up (security-wise, check out here), you can see what is going on in your house while in another country.

Perhaps the greatest versatility of Smartphones was with the introduction of Apps. Today, Apps are one of the greatest hindrances of productivity. There are myriads of apps that can be used daily, yet the most popular apps on use today are not productivity apps, but social media ones. I am afraid that these days, checking a smartphone is getting close to a reflex action to the ilk of sneezing! It is becoming that bad!

Some Shocking Hard Core Data


  • According to TIME magazine, (2015) the average person looks at his phone a whooping 46 times a day!
  • According to this blog,  (2013)the average user globally looks at his phone a whooping 150 times a day to do the following:
    • Messaging related 23 times per day
    • Voice call related 22 times per day
    • Clock 18 times per day
    • Music Player 13 times per day
    • Gaming 12 times per day
    • Social Media 9 times per day
    • Alarm 8 times per day
    • Camera 8 times per day
    • News and alerts 6 times per day
    • Calendar 5 times per day
    • Search 3 times per day
    • Other random web browsing 3 times per day
    • Charging phone 3 times per day
    • Voice mail 1 times per day
    • Other miscellaneous uses 10 times per day
      Total 150 times per day
      Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013

I could go on and on and site this research and that research to prove a point. The point is that the current workforce is mightily obsessed with their smartphones and they are seriously distracted. I would bet that another research would be conducted and will show this shocking trend: Productivity has gone lower with technology!

Tangential Apps Disease (TAP)

Tangential Thought Process: This is whereby a speaker will begin with one statement, then make another related statement that goes in another direction, and then another statement that goes in still another direction and the processes continues and it never returns to the original point.

Paul Achar, Communications Expert

You can easily guess where I am going with this. You pick up your smartphone to check something. Before you can go to where you wanted to go on the smartphone, you are bombarded by a battalion of notifications from social media and email. You pick out the most interesting vibe (most probably a social media comment) and check it out, making a rebuttal here and there…and before you realize it, 15 minutes are gone on social media banter. Meanwhile, you cannot even remember the reason why you picked up the phone in the first place.

Scratching your head, you try to recall but all in vain. You go back to your “work”..and few seconds down the line, you remember what exactly triggered you to check your phone. Guess what happens? You find other notifications, or this time round an update on what you previously posted. Before you know it, the whole day is spent and you have not finished typing that 2 page essay!! It is a disease! I call it Tangential App Disease!

The Biggest Loser

The biggest loser of smartphone technology seems to be daily productivity at work! Incidentally, one of the very first gadgets that top organizations give to their new recruits is a sleek, top range phone. The question is, are they empowering this new employee or are they dis-empowering them? Something has to be done about it. I am afraid, this current generation of workers need to be sensitized specifically about the Tangential App Disease. Much as it is affecting their productivity at work, it is also lowering their brain power as well as their value as solution providers in life. I take a pity on the next generation.

There is a fake quote attributed to Einstein that has been doing rounds online since 2012. It goes something like this:

I fear the day Technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” 

Fake Albert Einstein Quote

Although fake, I am afraid that this quote has great weight with it. Take a look at this video below:

[gm album=2]

Take the Dare!

The solution? You have to be as daring as you possibly can. I dare you to switch off your phone! I dare you to do it for a few hours until a task is complete. Believe me, you will not die. The worn out excuse of “there might be an emergency” will be found out that day. You will realize that for the past several years, there have been no emergency at all that you  failed to attend to because your phone was was turned off! The following are some of the things that can be done to increase productivity.

Turn off notifications

1. Plan:

Arguably the most obvious thing to do is planning. This is the biggest antidote to that “reflex” of checking your phone that I talked about. As you plan, take care of the following:

  • Schedule the fun: Planning is not just for the “productive stuff”. Fun can be productive too. The secret here is making sure that you allocate time for it. It is OK to be on Facebook in your Facebook Allocated time.
  • Consistency: Spread out your Plan for the whole week or even month. Make sure that there are repeated actions. Your ‘time’ on social media and other distracting things can be provided for on a daily and consistent basis. This way, it is settled in your subconscious that you have time to check your notifications.

2. Switch off or Turn off:

Radically, you could switch off your phone until a task is completed. This is advisable for the chronically obsessed. Of course it works best after you have planned. However, a more practical way (and this is what I use) is to turn off all notifications! On my phone, the only available notification is the ringer tone…and that too is in danger of being turned off as my schedule dictates. As you do so, make sure that you also have notifications of your own: tell people that you are unavailable for a season of time, something like an autoresponder. Notifications rank up there as the biggest distractions ever!

3. Use A Notebook

When you fall in love with working on your notebook (the analog one), you will realize how powerful this tool is. There is some kind of magic and creativity that comes when pen and paper are being coordinated by your brain. It is incredible. Besides, there are no notifications on your notebook. It is just you and a blank page staring at you. What a brilliant idea. The more you fall in love with your notebook, the better. In there, put your thoughts, strategies and plans and ideas. Only resort to the laptop when you have tangible data to process.

4. Use Headphones

Distractions can also come from your surrounding environment. I have noticed that when you have your headphones on, (even if nothing is playing), people give you your space. They leave you alone. You can also use brainwave music in the background to boost your brain as you work. If not, you can use inspirational music or classical music.

4.5. Upload Productivity Apps

The ration of productivity and fun apps on worker’s mobile phones is alarmingly skewed! There are great apps out there that can help boost people’s productivity, yet the majority of what people have is games and social media. It would go a long way to learn to productively use your phone.


This is the greatest app you can ever download. It might not work immediately but it works with use. It is like a muscle. It gets stronger the more you use it. It is supported by other apps such as personal ruthlessness, commitment, and follow up.