Digital Simplification in Time of Crisis

As the crisis continues with an indefinite timeline, I’ve been looking for ways to simplify digitally. Now that I’m doing multiple Zoom calls per day, and not getting the same variety of face-to-face interactions, I’ve been more conscious of regular screen time outside the professional context.

Here are a few of my changes:

  • Turn off all iPhone notifications, including the Lock Screen, Notification Center, Banners, and Badges for all apps. The only notifications allowed? Texts and calls. That’s it. Removing my Slack and Gmail notifications greatly simplified things.
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb for all hours outside normal working hours and enable Allow Calls from Favorites. Shut everything down when you aren’t working. Everything. We don’t need more interruptions.
  • Remove distracting apps like the News app. I found myself constantly reading the news, and with much of it was about the crisis, I was hurting my focus even more. Eliminate noise. 
  • Combine the email inbox and to do list into one. I use my Gmail Inbox and the excellent Snooze function to constantly prioritize what’s important, and when. New to do list item? I email it to myself and then Snooze it to when I focus on it. If I have extra time, I visit the Snoozed folder in Gmail and look at the outstanding items. Constant reprioritization.

With time, I’m sure more ideas to simplify digitally with emerge. I’m pleased with the progress so far and recommend these easy changes. And, of course, these changes should have been done prior to the crisis.

What else? What are some more ideas to simplify digitally?

3 thoughts on “Digital Simplification in Time of Crisis

  1. Good points David. I turned off all the phone and desktop notifications a while ago. For desktop Outlook users, strongly recommend turning off the “Show New Desktop Alert” that shows a short preview of EVERY new email that comes in. The average knowledge worker gets over 75 emails a day…so that’s a lot of pop up alerts that are distracting. When in web/video conferences, also be VERY careful about Instant Messaging alerts that come up while you are Screen Sharing. Recommend sharing a window/application instead of your entire Desktop.

  2. Hi David, good advices.

    – I made automatically hide and show Dock on my Mac. In this way, I get rid of other applications disturbing me.
    – If I work documents or need more focus, I make the app fullscreen. This way I get rid of everything else.
    – I recently started disconnecting my WIFI to focus more. I open it after finishing the work I am working on.
    – I am trying to work on only one job at a time. This makes me more productive.
    – It is very important to make a good plan before starting work. It is important to put things in order and focus on the most important job. It is useful to continue by finishing important works in order.


    1. Journal every day. Writing down how your day went helps you separate your direction from intention. Simply writing down that I lacked focus and wasn’t productive provides a feedback loop to myself to improve tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.