Software developer & remote work advocate. Traveling and discovering gastronomy around the world.

How to make your phone and laptop less distracting

17 October 2018

For this 2018 I have a goal: living my life in a simpler way. To get this, I need to remove all the things that don’t really matter to me. One month ago I started to simplify the way I use my mobile and laptop. I want to use it as a tool and not as a way to waste my time. It have to be helpful and not distracting for me. So, I created an environment that makes me feel much better, freedom and focused on things are important for me.

Make your phone less distracting

  • Remove all the applications you don’t need. Now I have 38 apps installed on my phone. Everything what I need in my daily life. One rule: If I don’t use an app in a few months, it’s time to uninstall it.
  • Turn off all the notifications. I used to be checking my phone every time push notifications arrive. After turn off all my notifications (except phone calls), I have more control over my phone and I use it in a responsible way.
  • Make your home screen minimal. Get rid of all the distracting stuff from your screen are one of the best ways to use less your phone. If you don’t have any app on your home screen, you won’t use those apps as much as you can use it if you have it. For iPhone users, leave just your 3 most used apps on your home screen and move the others to a folder.

  • Remove social networks you are not using with a purpose. If you don’t have a clear purpose for a social network, every time you check that social network you are wasting your time. It’s better if you uninstall your app and leave that time for things with a clear purpose.
  • Sounds off. I have my phone quiet almost every time (I only turn on sound when I’m waiting for an important call). We don’t have to be reacting to the phone, you have to take control over it and choose when you want to look at it.

Tools & Resources

  • Time Well Spent: Their aim are: We are building a new organisation dedicated to reversing the digital attention crisis and realigning technology with humanity’s best interests. Very interesting and worth to visit it.
  • Zero notifications: Joe Gascoigne, CEO at Buffer, wrote an interesting article about how turn off his mobile notifications helped him to have more control over his smartphone.

Make your laptop less distracting

  • Again, turn off your notifications. To remove your notifications on your Mac, you should go to “System Preferences — Notifications”.

  • Turn off your browser notifications. If you are using Google Chrome as your default browser. Go to chrome://settings/content/notifications and toogle “Ask before sending (recommended)” to “Blocked”.

  • Keep clean your desktop. It’s really helpful don’t have any distracting element on your desktop. Try to clean your desktop every day. Remove those files that you are not using. Keep your dock as clean as possible. Just the apps you use in your daily working time. Remove all the distracting apps like chats, games…etc.

  • (Mac users) Install Overkill to say goodbye to iTunes. Are you fed up every time iTunes is opened with your Mac? Overkill is a simple tool for kill iTunes every time process tries to open itself.
  • Active Night Shift or install f.lux. Our bodies have a particularly strong response to blue light, which suppresses a hormone called melatonin that prepares our bodies for sleep. So always, set this tool on your phone/laptop for a better sleep time.
  • Don’t check your phone before sleep. Do something offline before sleep. You will sleep so much better.
  • I removed almost all my news feed. I was using Feedly as my main news feed. I spent so much time reading too much information. In this world where we have an information overload, I decided to remove Feedly from my life. So now, I try to read fewer articles, but more useful. My current news setup is Pocket + Twitter Feed (using this IFTTT Applet). What happens if you want to know about one specific topic? I do a Google/Medium research and I save all the interesting articles in Pocket to read later.


I am working hard to have more time for doing things really matters to me and I hope you too are doing the same. I installed Rescue Timer for monitoring where I spent my time on the laptop and those are the results.

That’s all folks! Do you have any good tip? Share it with me on @_albertogallego and have a nice day!