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Iphone Technology Hardware Science

How One Writer Is Battling Tech-Induced Attention Disorder (wired.com) 195

New submitter mirandakatz writes: Katie Hafner has spent the last 23 days in rehab. Not for alcoholism or gambling, but for a self-inflicted case of episodic partial attention thanks to her iPhone. On Backchannel, Hafner writes about the detrimental effect the constant stream of pings has had on her, and how her life has come to resemble a computer screen. "I sense a constant agitation when I'm doing something," she says, "as if there is something else out there, beckoning -- demanding -- my attention. And nothing needs to be deferred." "I blame electronics for my affliction," writes Hafner, who says the devices in her life "teem with squirrels." "If I pick up my iPhone to send a text, damned if I don't get knocked off task within a couple of seconds by an alert about Trump's latest tweet. And my guess is that if you have allowed your mind to be as tyrannized by the demands of your devices as I have, you too suffer to some degree from this condition."

Hafner goes on to describe her symptoms of "episodic partial attention" and provide potential fixes for it: "There are the obvious fixes. Address the electronics first: Silence the phone as well as all alerts on your computer, and you automatically banish two squirrels. But how do you shut down the micro-distractions that dangle everywhere in your physical world, their bushy gray tails twitching seductively? My therapy, of my own devising, consists of serial mono-tasking with a big dose of mindful intent, or intentional mindfulness -- which is really just good, old-fashioned paying attention. At first, I took the tiniest of steps. I celebrated the buttoning of a blouse without stopping to apply the hand cream I spotted on the dresser as if I had gotten into Harvard. Each task I took on -- however mundane -- I had to first announce, quietly, to myself. I made myself vow that I would work on that task and only that task until it was finished. Like a stroke patient relearning how to move an arm, I told myself not that I was making the entire bed (too overwhelming), but that I had a series of steps to perform: first the top sheet, then the blankets, then the comforter, then the pillows. Emptying the dishwasher became my Waterloo. Putting dishes away takes time, and it's tedious. Perhaps the greatest challenge lies in the fact that the job requires repeated kitchen crossings. There are squirrels everywhere, none more treacherous than the siren song that is my iPhone."
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How One Writer Is Battling Tech-Induced Attention Disorder

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  • Can you configure Android or iOS to queue some or all notifications in the background, so you can view them at your leisure like you can do with emails (once new email notifications are turned off, like they can in Thunderbird)?
    • Can you configure Android or iOS to queue some or all notifications in the background

      Yes. Here is a complete list of apps on my phone that have permission to push notifications: {}

      I can go to each app to "pull" notifications, but I rarely do that. If I am expecting a message from, say, WeChat, I will temporarily enable notifications from only that app. Once the conversation is over, I disable it again.

      If you want my immediate attention, call me. If I don't answer because I am asleep, and it is a life threatening emergency, then call 911 and ask the police to wake me up. If it is not a

      • by Mandrel ( 765308 )

        OK, thanks.

        Android's "Do not disturb" mode seems to allow selective real-time notifications, but I'm not sure whether the rest are lost or can still be viewed on-demand.

        • Android's "Do not disturb" mode seems to allow selective real-time notifications, but I'm not sure whether the rest are lost or can still be viewed on-demand.

          Android's "Do not disturb" mode (v6+) is shit.

          Old DND mode allowed me to silence my phone ie. for the business meetings, and make sure that it can only vibrate if anyone calls me. The new DND mode does not allow the phone to be turned to vibrate-only mode easily, instead it can be totally silent, or allow calls (and sounds) from specific contacts. So if my wife/mom/dad calls me during a business meeting, my phone will still ring loud. If I want my phone to be silent when I'm putting my kid to sleep during

  • Impulse control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @11:40PM (#55145971)

    I'm surprised she managed to become a "writer" if she can't even get dressed in the morning without being distracted.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Considering her past writing, particularly the smear job she and her then husband did on Kevin Mitnick, it is likely that the whole story is a fabrication to generate an article for publication.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Bingo.

        Notice how she starts by calling it self induced, then blames her phone.

        No. She has shit impulse control, and instead of pulling her head from her ass she finds anything to blame but herself.

      • Considering her past writing, particularly the smear job she and her then husband did on Kevin Mitnick, it is likely that the whole story is a fabrication to generate an article for publication.

        Well they must have done it one sentence a day seeing as how monumental an effort changing the bed is according to her.

    • Yeah but we can't all have your superman-like ability to concen - SQUIRREL!

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Dude, it's called an on/off switch, just use the off version and do it for a couple of days. Do it regularly with the mobile phone, do it sometimes with the computer and no do it every now and again with the internet connection. Just switch the fuckers off, do it at night before going to sleep and just do switch them back on again for a few days, just did it with the internet connection, down for, not sure two or four days, not sure, still used the computer in that period, just disconnected. The idea being

    • I'm surprised that she felt the need to contribute to the same problem in others by writing this stupid story although I suppose if you are trying to sell the cure it helps to drum up some business first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's clear her whole "thing" is stream-of-consciousness behavior and she lives in the moment, without any greater self-awareness. No wonder she has a problem with digital distractions. It's all about her, her, her and being a writer is a great career for her because she gets to write about her favorite subject: herself.
    • Speak for yourself.

      There is no point in having a remote writer's job if you can't stay naked and unshowered 95% of the time.

    • Re:Impulse control (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @07:24AM (#55146929) Homepage Journal

      I'm surprised she managed to become a "writer" if she can't even get dressed in the morning without being distracted.

      Seems like fairly typical behavior for a writer. You're pulling on your pants, and suddenly notice the curious way that dust motes in ray of sunlight swirl on the thermal currents of the room. It occurs to you that maybe that's the way a space battle might look like, with thousands of ships moving in three dimensions.

      • You're pulling on your pants, and suddenly notice the curious way that dust motes in ray of sunlight swirl on the thermal currents of the room. It occurs to you that maybe that's the way a space battle might look like, with thousands of ships moving in three dimensions.

        I like the way you think. You are obviously experienced at this.

      • by e r ( 2847683 )
        And then you write in your diary something like "I've seen things today. Things you people wouldn't believe. I've seen dust motes swirling off the shoulder of my cat Orion..."
    • What writer needs to get dressed? You can write just fine naked - this is proof!
    • Unfortunately, I'm not surprised at the article showing up here, because it has no nerd value.

      There's things that can be said about distraction by electronic gizmos, but if a woman can't button a shirt all the way without deliberately focusing, the electronics are kinda lost in the noise.

  • by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @11:41PM (#55145975)

    The case presented was of course at the more extreme end, but how many thousands, probably millions, suffer from the same thing to a lesser but still significant degree?

    The distractions around us are indeed endless. Someone sends us a text and wonders why we don't answer within, literally, seconds. We're never off work (in many professions) because we carry our phones everywhere, and we're "always connected."

    Electronics have advanced us greatly but there's no free lunch.

    So now we see the rise of things like the "Pomodoro Technique" --- a means of doing as the subject of the article did, namely, concentrate on just a single task for a period of time.

    Do we own our devices or do they own us?

    That is a real and relevant question.

    • by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:09AM (#55146053)
      We own them. Turn off the f*cking notifications unelss you're paid to have them on and are willing to do so.

      There I solved the great philospphical question of the 21st century. Don't worry I require little in the way of compensation. People like the article writing STFU is all I ask. That and a case of beer a week for life
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Forget notifications, the damn summary is TL;DR

      • Turn off the f*cking notifications unelss you're paid to have them on and are willing to do so.

        This right here. People complain about notifications and then swipe them away. Why not long press them instead and then deny the app from producing them in the first place. Many apps which spam notifications also kindly provide fine grained control of them. E.g. I am not in the slightest interested in getting a notification of who's birthday it is from Facebook. Turned off. I'm not interested in someone talking in groups, requesting charity, broadcasting live video, etc, etc.

      • We own them. Turn off the f*cking notifications

        She tried doing that, but was distracted by notifications every time she tried figuring out how.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        We own them. Turn off the f*cking notifications unelss you're paid to have them on and are willing to do so.

        This, I don't believe in "phone addiction" or any other such bollocks. You only have weak people who lack the self control to put the damn thing down or the intelligence to set up predefined DND period (Do Not Disturb, not Dungeons and Dragons for the contextually impaired).

        A phone is a controllable object you are in charge of. If its ruling your life its because you're not disciplined enough to own one.

        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          We used to call this being "immature", but some people felt offended. So, now we come up with other crap names like internet addiction and tech induced attention disorder. Horseshit, they just need to grow up and take some fucking responsibility for their own actions.

    • Agreed. Apps need the attention of the user in order to serve them ads. If you can make sure the user pays more attention, then they see more ads and you make more money.

      That's why apps like Facebook and Twitter are specifically engineered to be addictive. There is no urgency at all in the fact that your grandma has posted photo's on Facebook. Yet the apps generates a notification for it *ding*. You open the app and you see the notification tab has a little '8' badge above it. You've got 8 messages. You lik

    • by ( 4475953 )

      Well, you can deal with that with some discipline. And by 'discipline', I mean teaching discipline to others. Never answer your phone unless you want to, never read or reply to messages unless you're in the mood, and never answer to any work-related issues outside office hours unless you're somehow being paid for it. The trick is just to reply consistently late, or to be consistent with being inconsistent. If you have difficulties with the latter, use a random number generator to determine the reply time.

      • I completely agree. Ever since I first got on the Internet all those years ago I have never treated email as something I have to respond to straight away - in fact, as you say, I have found it better to always wait before replying (an hour, a day, whatever seems appropriate to me and the message). People then realise that once they've sent you a message there is no point in hanging around waiting for an instant reply and they get on with their lives.

      • Well, you can deal with that with some discipline. And by 'discipline', I mean teaching discipline to others.

        I had a millennial guy try to train me that way. His "orders" were "Don't call me, don't leave voicemal. Don't email me, I won't answer. I only accept texts."

        I took a nice long walk to his office and explained very politely that we had technical problems to work on that won't work in text form, and he would either take my phone calls, or every time I needed to interface with him, I would take that walk across the building to visit him personally, and not be at all happy about the waste of my time. And i

    • Speak for yourself
    • Just turn off the notifications. The only apps I allow notifications from are phone (duh), text messaging and some selected chat apps. I also allow a few occasional-use apps, like the parking app I use in my city (because running out of parking time is a pretty important notification), but only those that do not pester me at inappropriate times.

      Everything else is turned way the hell off. I also disable any kind of notification "peeking" that loves to invade my screen space at the worst times. Somebody texte

    • The case presented was of course at the more extreme end, but how many thousands, probably millions, suffer from the same thing to a lesser but still significant degree?

      The distractions around us are indeed endless. Someone sends us a text and wonders why we don't answer within, literally, seconds. We're never off work (in many professions) because we carry our phones everywhere, and we're "always connected."

      Electronics have advanced us greatly but there's no free lunch.

      So now we see the rise of things like the "Pomodoro Technique" --- a means of doing as the subject of the article did, namely, concentrate on just a single task for a period of time.

      Do we own our devices or do they own us?

      That is a real and relevant question.

      It is a real question but not even a little relevant. You own your devices. If you let them 'own' you then it's your own failing.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Distractions are only there if you let them. Here is what I do:
      1) I turn my phone silent during working hours. There's an app for that. I inform my friends that I will not be reacting while at work. The one exception I had was when my mother was in palliative care in the last two months of her life. She could call me and I would pick up, regardless what the meeting was about or where I was.
      2) My phone is private, so my company better not call my outside office hours for work related stuff. My N+1 and N+2 h

  • by piojo ( 995934 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @11:43PM (#55145985)

    I used to have a similar problem. It's why I don't use Facebook more than once a day, and I never use reddit except when I have a specific question to answer. The constant cycle of needing a spike of validation or novelty then getting bored again within a minute was driving me crazy. But I suspect my problem is more common than what the author writes about. It also sounds worse. Her problem can be solved by not picking up the phone, but the novelty addiction manifests as a gnawing addictive craving.

    I'm a lot happier now that I limit myself enough that my brain doesn't get used to that crap.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is this bullshit masquerading as a news story?

    1) Writer has short attention span
    2) Writer wants attention, blames digital age for her inability to put the fucking phone down
    3) Writer checks herself into "rehab" and writes a shitty story about how it's not her fault
    4) ???
    5) Profit!

    Fucking hell. My entire life revolves around the computer too, since I'm a programmer and hobbyist CG artist. I don't give a flying fuck about tweets or social networking. When I'm off the computer, I'm off the computer, and m

    • by LesFerg ( 452838 )

      Typical americans, they just love their blame culture.
      Now they must have something to blame for lack of attention. It's not my fault, it was my phone!
      I'm sure there will be a specialist branch of therapy available for you all.

      • Well, to be be fair, it is actually the phone that is to blame. One doesn't know how many notifications they will recieve when they enable notifications for any particular app. It is quite natural to attempt to manage those notifications, which are distracting when they arrive on a device usually attached to one's person, and which is designed to get one's attention when a communication is recieved. It has to get to a point where a person decides that the quanitity of notifications are too many before they
      • Typical americans, they just love their blame culture. Now they must have something to blame for lack of attention. It's not my fault, it was my phone! I'm sure there will be a specialist branch of therapy available for you all.

        That branch of therapy is located right beside the Bigoted European treatment office.

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @11:50PM (#55146001)

    Unless I actually need to call someone. There's a good solution to the issue with alerts and Trump tweets. Just uninstall those applications. Personally I think of the smartphone as a communication device and occasional location tracker. News is something you can browse at home on your desktop or something.

    It's usually a good idea to have separate work spaces and devices for separate tasks. If you can't have that then have separate application profiles and even desktops. It helps alleviate stress a lot.

    • There's a good solution to the issue with alerts and Trump tweets. Just uninstall those applications.

      But then where are they going to get their recreational outrage from? They need to tweet back to signal to their friends that they are virtuous people. This is important. Failure to do it loudly and constantly gets you put on the "questionable" list and as Google showed us, that kind of thing can have highly harmful effects on your career.

      • There's a good solution to the issue with alerts and Trump tweets. Just uninstall those applications.

        But then where are they going to get their recreational outrage from?

        For me, reading articles like this. Even if you believe nuclear war is going to break out any second now, receiving presidential tweets isn't going to give you enough of a heads-up to avoid it.

        • There's a good solution to the issue with alerts and Trump tweets. Just uninstall those applications.

          But then where are they going to get their recreational outrage from?

          For me, reading articles like this. Even if you believe nuclear war is going to break out any second now, receiving presidential tweets isn't going to give you enough of a heads-up to avoid it.

          Thanks for replying to AC. I'm cutting off at 2 today, and if you hadn't replied, I would have missed the term "Recreational Outrage".

      • Nice strawman you've got there.

    • Turn the phone off? Uninstall the applications?

      WTF are you talking about, just deny it the right to create a notification. There's no need to demolish a house because you can't get rid of a couple of cockroaches.

    • by rastos1 ( 601318 )

      That's why I keep my smartphone turned off. Unless I actually need to call someone.

      ... which fails because the other party has the phone turned off for the very same reasons. Clever.

      • For that I pre-schedule a time where the other person is supposed to be connected. Or I just e-mail them.

    • I'm not going to follow Trump tweets until my blood pressure is under better control. Works for me.

  • She's been spamming for her employer Wired for ages and has had other stories make it...
  • Cyberchondria (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:00AM (#55146023)
    If you didn't go see a trained professional for a diagnosis, then what you have is called Cyberchondria [wikipedia.org]
    • Just because it's not been professionally diagnosed doesn't mean the problem isn't real.

    • If you didn't go see a trained professional for a diagnosis, then what you have is called Cyberchondria [wikipedia.org]

      Actually, the generation who is suffering from this calls it "FOMO".

      They would be concerned, but they also suffer from YOLO, so they hardly care.

      FOMO will soon be classified as a disease so insurance companies can start targeting victims.

  • by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:05AM (#55146037)
    If you had to go to rehab for things you literally thought of on your own, the problem isn't the electronics. It is the person who refuses to do so. If you have genuine mental infliction preventing you from doing so, rehab is barely going to help. You'd need psychotherapy, medication, and maybe rehab for impulse issues.

    So congrats for devising an almost certainly ineffective, obvious treatment a child would have thought of. Go to a psychiatrist and work on that impulse control.
  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:17AM (#55146081)

    Get a dumb flip phone. Text and email, maybe GPS...

    If she sells her iPhone, she could get a cheap dumb phone and save a fortune.

    • Simpler solution, turn off notifications. There's no need to forgo a useful tool when all you want is for it to stop beeping at you.

  • well, (Score:1, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )

    What?

  • How dare she sexualize me like some object? I twitch my bushy tail because it's comfortable. This is the exactly the kind of objectifying language that makes squirrels feel unsafe around people.

    This is disgusting. I am squirrel, NOT some sexual twitching seductively.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@[ ]dflat.com ['ner' in gap]> on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:33AM (#55146119) Journal

    .... characterized by an inability to pay attention or to concentrate on anything. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain that necessitates a certain higher level of stimulation than what is considered typical in order for concentration to be maintained. This is why certain types of medications can be helpful in treating the symptoms of ADD... artificially inducing the stimulation that is needed for the individual to concentrate. They work... to a limited extent, but they are usually not without side effects, addiction often being among them, so its usage should of course be carefully monitored by those close to the individual and any situations reported to a medical authority quickly.

    You cannot give yourself ADD by anything that you do. At most all you can do after you are born is develop lazy habits that might superficially imitate it. From what I've heard, the imbalance that causes ADD is formed in the womb, and by the time a person is born, that aspect of their mental state has long since been solidified.

    Of course, a person with ADD can often still learn skills over their life that can help them mitigate their neurological disposition and function in society in a conventional manner.

  • 1) uninstall all those social media apps
    2) disable notification from all but your 3 most important services.
    3) Stop being a self-indulgent snowflake and get some control of yourself

  • by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:39AM (#55146145)
    I temporarily retired (parents died, leaving me enough to coast by for a while; I'll eventually have to go back to work) and while I have a number of electronics and programming projects I want to do, I find I don't really want to do them. I've got a major case of Meh. I can focus on some things - exercise for example; I can bicycle for hours - but sit me down at my desk, and I'll look through /., FB, just about anything but the projects I "wanted" to do. It's not that I can't do them - I've already mastered the fundamental elements involved - it's just that I don't *have* to do them, so I'm not bothered to get after it. I think her phone and other diversions are just masking a bigger problem: She's bored with what she's doing and craves something - anything - more stimulating.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What you describe could just as easily be procrastination, anxiety or even mild depression. Please don't waste the money. Eventually you'll find that you can use it more in the future than you can right now when you are able to work. I've been in your shoes, I blew the money, and I regret it now that I'm suffering chronic illness and can't afford to leave work to focus on recovery.

      Side-note, if you think you might be depressed, see a real shrink, take the drugs.

      • I'd make that recommendation stronger. GP is showing symptoms of something that could be mild depression. GP should see a doctor., or, alternately, self-evaluate for depression. There's evaluation questions on the web.

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @07:38AM (#55146973)

      >I have a number of electronics and programming projects I want to do, I find I don't really want to do them. I've got a major case of Meh

      I hear that. I blame my job, my wife, my kids, the pets... whatever. But the truth is I've got 3 or 4 projects lined up I COULD work on a few hours at a time, but while I'm really enthusiastic about the concepts I simply can't drum up the enthusiasm to actual sit down and do the work.

      I mean, what the hell is so awesome about doing something uncountable others have already done before me, and probably better than I ever would? Meh. Work a bit longer, buy the finished product... leave that box of supplies in the workshop.

      >it's just that I don't *have* to do them, so I'm not bothered to get after it.

      First world problems. We have everything we need and thus don't have the ambition to acquire something we need.

      • George orwell wrote [george-orwell.org] about the curious effects of mechanization on our motivation to work, and even on what we consider to be work or leisure. I strongly recommend giving it a read.

        Here am I, working eight hours a day in an insurance office; in my spare time I want to do something 'creative', so I choose to do a bit of carpentering--to make myself a table, for instance. Notice that from the very start there is a touch of artificiality about the whole business, for the factories can turn me out a far better t

  • Its not the device. Its the effect of disconnection from people we really want to be around. Alot of us don't want to be living the lives we are living. We are alone. The people we knew, and love are all gone. There is no one to be with us, no one to comfort us. We are in isolated pockets, all by ourselves. We can't say who we are in real life to other people. That would lead to us being ostracized by the community. Some of us the sole liberal in a community of conservatives. Some the sole gamer in a family

  • I don't have Twitter at all and Facebook is used through a web browser instead of the app. Which basically means it's hardly used at all because it's so broken.

    I have WhatsApp, SMS, Email and the phone. I religiously forbid websites from sending notifications too.
    I think those are by far enough channels for people to reach me. All the other shit has no business interrupting me in the first place.

    Why would I allow "news" to distract me?

  • Then close email and close all web browsers.

    See? It is easy to do!

    • Then close email and close all web browsers.

      See? It is easy to do!

      I tried. But slashdot got a new article right when I was about to close it.

  • Sigh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @03:35AM (#55146507) Homepage

    When your child does this, you know what you should do.

    You take the phone away, turn it off, only allow use in certain hours.

    Because you're an adult, I expect you to a) be able to do it to yourself, b) not NEED to do that as you have impulse control, c) notice if you're failing in that and grow up rather quickly.

    The problem extends because people don't even apply this to their children anymore, let alone themselves. You're an adult. Grow up and stop it. Same thing that I say to smokers. If you are purely acting on base impulses and instincts, of course you'll never cure such things. Just say "Oh, no, I shouldn't be doing that" and stop it. It's not like an iPhone is coated in some addictive narcotic (though it's priced like that).

    Nobody expect immediate compliance and perfect application, but come on. You know it's bad for you and you're still allowing it to happen. There's a part of your brain that's been around for millions of years and whose purpose is basically to do nothing more than override the instinctual part of your brain by applying reason. It's basically the bit that makes you a human and not an ape.

    Try using it.

    • Learn some actual psychology then maybe you won't rush to judgement over others failure to live up to your ignorant expectations. Yes, if you learn some science you may have to question your beliefs... You may have a difficult time breaking from a long time or life-long attachment to a way of life just like this woman has and it takes strength to recognize and fight a problem that can easily go unnoticed and then be easily dismissed as a defensive reaction.

      We are APES! There is no magical act which makes

  • by ET3D ( 1169851 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @04:07AM (#55146561)
    Oh, wait...
  • > "I blame electronics for my affliction,"

    This is the root of all problems. Blaming stuff around us. It's pizza, it's coca cola, it's the drugs, terrorists, electronic gadgets, alcohol, ..

    It's not the electronics, it's YOU. The same pattern can be seen with people that eat and drink a lot more than they should, drug addicts, etc.
    Meat, fat or carbs are not the problem.. sugar is fine, bread is fine, fat is fine, vodka is fine, beer is fine. Stuffing your face in it and abusing everything around you IS THE

  • It's not just shiny object affliction. This chick apparently has a stack depth of 1.5 items.

    Even after fifteen consecutive distractions, I still usually know I left the kettle on.

    To begin with, I have about a five-task planning horizon. This isn't even a stack. On a good day, I can be actively pursuing three tasks in parallel, while sizing up two more off to the side (and maybe grabbing utensils soon to be needed, if in my other flurry I discover them near to hand).

    I originally learned to do this playing

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      To add a tiny dollop of credibility to that long personal screed, the game I played most was unusual in that while you would normally be pursued by two dozen soon-to-become claustrophobic objects, probably 15 of those objects would have a future trajectory that was deterministic based on your own movements (one little Z80 can only do so much ...)

      I actually don't know any other game of that intensity where you can glance away from your present task with such relentless foresight.

      There was another game a few

  • "But how do you shut down the micro-distractions that dangle everywhere in your physical world.."

    Ignore them?

    I mean, that's what grownups generally do.

  • if you can't even button your shirt in one go without being distracted, you have bigger problems then facebook, twitter and all other distractions a smartphone can bring.

  • But that's the problem with writers, isn't it? That combination of imagination and persuasiveness makes accounts of their experiences highly unreliable, though entertaining.

    Mark Twain lost the fortune he made writing investing in inventions. The problem was that he couldn't resist something that fired his imagination.

  • by Dracolytch ( 714699 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @08:23AM (#55147113) Homepage

    I see a lot of folks on here complaining with the general tone of "The author should be as well-adjusted and capable as I am". Well they're not. Big whoop. Let's not whine and actually do something productive here.

    1) I think the problem is getting worse. It used to just be email. Now it's email, phone, OS, websites and even my freakin' web browser itself that want to push notifications.
    2) Yes, I'm well adjusted and adapted to this environment. I've spent the majority of my life interested in tech. It's no big surprise that other folks who merely use devices (instead of being passionate about devices) might get swamped by this.

    Here are some helpful links:
    A great guide for turning off different types of iPhone notifications:
    https://www.tomsguide.com/us/t... [tomsguide.com]

    Another guide for both Android and iOS:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]

    A guide for Windows 10:
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/... [digitaltrends.com]

    And for Chrome (Including turning off sites asking permission, which I hate almost as much as actual notifications)
    https://support.google.com/chr... [google.com]

    In tandem with all of this, I also recommend ad-blockers and paying for media services which eliminate advertisements (Pandora, Netflix, etc.). This helps provide a more distraction-free environment and helps maintain a low-distraction life.

  • It's simple: TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONE.

    Stop being such a pathetic, sheep-like follower. Stop responding to every fucking picture of some idiot's bagel or their tweet about some other meaningless bullshit that has NO effect on your life.

    Just turn off your phone. Or if that's too traumatic for you, log out of your social media accounts. Better yet, delete them. No one gives a shit about what you're doing or where you're doing it or what kind of sandwich you had for lunch. NO ONE CARES.

  • No friends.

Byte your tongue.

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