April 16th, 2020
I've found that removing distractions from my everyday life is a guaranteed way to become a tiny bit happier.

And it sort of boggles my mind that not everybody does this.

You know that notification that you keep getting from XYZ app? Maybe it's iCloud letting you know your phone isn't backed up, or a new "like" on Instagram.

Or maybe it's MyFitnessPal sending you the same message every day.

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Well, here's a guaranteed way to improve your day:

  1. Figure out how to turn that notification off
  2. Live your life for a couple more days
  3. Look back and realize how much better your life is without that thing

An example

I used to get email notifications whenever someone signed up for a free trial to Pigeon.

These notifications "felt" important - probably because they gave me a mini rush of adrenaline.

At best, I could see the email who signed up, and at worst it would put me on a 10-15 minute bullshit sidequest of distraction.

One day, I accidentally removed these notifications because I made changes to how free trials worked.

For the next couple of days, there were people signing up for the product and I had no idea.

But guess what? It didn't matter. Someone signing up to Pigeon does not (and should not) require any attention from me.

This may seem like a simple example, but you can apply it to everything:

  • Turn off Stripe email notifications for when you make a sale
  • Delete Instagram from your phone
  • Mute everyone on Twitter
  • Put on Do not disturb on your phone
  • Put your phone in another room
  • Don't leave Slack open on your computer
  • Unsubscribe from all emails
  • Filter out unimportant transactional emails

The list could go on forever.

From my corporate days

I remember when I started my first job in corporate America, there was this internal chat/IM program called Microsoft Lync (before the days of Slack).

99% of the company would be online ALL THE TIME on this. You could IM anyone in the company and interrupt them, anytime, and it was a big company (300k+ employees across the world).

After I started working there, I found that conversations on Lync tended to go on for way too long, and the majority of conversation was about nothing / complaining about your bosses or clients.

So, I decided to uninstall Lync from my work computer. Life was so much better without it, and I got so much more work done.

However, people at the company thought I was crazy. Everyone asked about it. And because I was never "online", many people thought I was fired.

It still doesn't make sense to me why people wanted this distraction in their lives.

I think that maybe people are just different. Some people enjoy chatting on IM and being distracted and complaining about their boss and generally dilly-dallying through their day... I'm just not one of those people.