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The One Productivity Hack to Beat the Rest

If you ask a handful of people in this world what they want more of, you’ll probably get a range of answers.

Money, fame, happiness. The list goes on.

But there’s one thing that a lot of tend to want, particualrly as we get older:

Time

Yes, I know it’s cliche, but it’s different to most of the things that populate the list.

If we’re rich, and we go broke, we can do something to get our money back.If we’re sad, it may suck, but we’ll eventually get better. If we become less and less popular, we could always pull a crazy publicity stunt to make us the talk of the town.

All of the above are reversible. But if there’s one thing we can’t get back, no matter how hard we try, it’s time.

In such a fast-paced, growth-oriented society, it can seem like we never have time.

We’re always on the go.We never have time to rest. But it doesn’t matter, we don’t have time to worry about that anyway!

But what if we did have more time? What if we could use that spare time towards things we enjoy doing? What if there was one simple way to make the world slow down so you can stop to enjoy what’s around you? Is that even possible?

It is.

It’s so simple. In fact, the hack is so easily implemented that I sometimes forget about it from day to day. I take for granted the clarity of thought that it brings.

And for me, I’ve been grateful for this hack ever since I found out about it. And when I say ‘found’, I really mean ‘stumbled upon’.

Let me explain.


I crawled into bed one night to go to sleep on a day that had been pretty rough.

I had only arrived at university a couple of weeks prior, and I was still getting into the swing of things. So was everyone else apparently; I knew this courtesy of the newly created group chat — between all 14 of my flatmates.

Now, for anyone who’s ever been part of any group chat in their lives, you know they’re not exactly the most dormant of social conventions. Especially a group chat that is created as a liaison between my flat and the one next door. Yeah.

It should go without saying, but attempting to sleep in the midst of such a cacophony of notifications is near on impossible.

And so, as I tried bunking down for the night, trying to drown out the sound of my phone’s vibrations, I thought I might try something new.

I reached out to my phone and swiped up, revealing the control panel of my phone.

Looking at the moon symbol in the corner, I thought about what this button I’d never used before really did.

And then I pressed it, and the words illuminated on the screen:

*DO NOT DISTURB ENABLED*

And as I slept into the night, I didn’t hear my phone again.

And then the next day came.

Throughout the day I hardly noticed the messages coming through on my phone. What did it matter anyway? None of them were particularly important or demanded my immediate attention. Besides, if it was important, surely I’d get a call right?

And so I left it on ‘do not disturb’.

And I did the same into the next day.

And then the next.

And then the next.

And eventually I forgot I had even disabled it. All I noticed was that I had a newfound focus, my productivity had increased, and I felt more ‘present’.

No longer was my workflow unnecessarily interrupted.

No longer was my attention pulled away from the task at hand to reply to a an unimportant chat message.

No longer did I feel the need to stay updated with conversations that were happening — I wouldn’t even know they had started in the first place.

And with my increased focus and apparent surplus of time, I was able to apply myself to my work to a great extent. I could concentrate, without distractions, for longer periods, and I could remain ‘in the moment’ with my work in a way that was previously fragmented.

It was a great feeling to once again experiencing the world, instead of simply living in it.


To this day I still keep the function enabled.

And nearly a year on from the moment I stumbled upon this ‘productivity hack’, I’ve still yet to receive a text message that couldn’t wait until at least the next morning.

This simple hack — setting my phone to ‘do not disturb’ — has made all the difference in giving me a lifestyle that is more productive, less rushed, and free from the metaphorical ‘chains’ that my phone had imposed on me before.

Your don’t notice those chains until you’re free from them.

I certainly didn’t.

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