Brainstorm About Scientifically Proven Digital Attention Helpers - Off topic
venam
Hello fellow nixers,
Let's discuss an offtopic subject that is often brought up.
In this thread we're going to brainstorm about the topic of "Scientifically proven digital attention helpers" and our application of the understanding of the studies

We can share tools and tips as long as we have a study behind them.
Then we can share the anecdotal effects they had.

The big brainstorm happens on the public pad:
https://titanpad.com/digital-focus-scien...roven-wiki

And nodes: https://www.are.na/pat-l/digital-focus

Here's what I have so far that is proven by studies:
  • Single Tasking aka shrinking your view lens.
  • Limiting distraction in the environment surrounding your machine.
  • Red relates to avoidance (versus approach) motivation and enhances performance on a detail-oriented task while blue enhances performance on a creative task. Green is relaxing.
  • Blue keeps you awake (to avoid at night because sleep is essential to focus)
  • Setting a schedule increases the Zeigarnik effect
  • Avoid stress, be it mental or physical - Keep an ergonomic position.
  • Music can increase the productivity of moderately skilled individuals, while is distracting to novice and provides no benefits to experts. The music chosen must be without vocals and not too liked or disliked. (see thread for inspirations)
  • Minimalism as the reduction of mental clutter is good to suppress external stimuli

N.B.: Don't share anything about nootropics, vitamins, food, or drugs. Limit yourself to the machine and what's around it.

Here's what I'm going to test:
  • Monotasking, force myself to one window per workspace
  • Non distracting ambient music
  • Using the `at` for time management of tasks
  • Added a gap at the left and right of the window to allow to view the background color, which is a shade of blue (#5686AA)
  • xflux to avoid the bad effect of the blue shade at night and sleep well
  • Moving text to the top of the page as I read (we read in F shape focusing on the top)
  • Doing my most strenuous tasks between 9am-1pm as it's when we have the most focus

Share your opinions and other scientifically proven helpers!
jkl
How about the Pomodoro technique? Short deadlines help me to get things done. (That's why my personal projects take up so many months.)
venam
(28-02-2017, 12:33 PM)jkl Wrote: How about the Pomodoro technique? Short deadlines help me to get things done. (That's why my personal projects take up so many months.)
Pomodoro is great. As with any other time management technique, anything that creates a (small) time constraints will push you to start working and keep focusing.
Halfwit
I can attest to at least perceived effect of a good majority of those points. Though, I am sort of inclined to tune my colorscheme to change away from blue-based at night having read this again.
greduan
What do we think of pink wallpaper? This sort of pink https://kuvshinov-ilya.deviantart.com/ar...-679927166 Also a white wallpaper.

Also, nowadays I've completely deleted Facebook, my phone is always on silent, and often in another room (or somewhere where I have to stand up to check it), so WhatsApp and so on aren't a problem.

I've also tried to just have no music on. This works very well for me, especially when having trouble concentrating. Though I'm in a quiet environment.

My favorite editor colorscheme is [Mac Classic for vim](http://vimcasts.org/blog/2010/09/mac-classic/), anything more I find distracting to look at, I also don't install any plugins that provide better JS syntax groups, because that completely messes with the minimalism.
xero
i have been halving my deadlines for years now to try and force myself to focus and work {hard,fast}er. but you have to really convince yourself the new deadline is "real" or the effect is useless. the same logic applies to setting all my clocks ahead 15 mins since i'm chronically late.

as for distractions, i feel like hiding my browser tabs helps me hyper focus on a single page. the work chatroom + time management software (slack+jira) are the worst distractions there is b/c i cannot mute them since p1 support issues are delivered that way :/ but i've been experimenting w/ delivering those through highlighted dunst notifications. too early to tell if that workflow is working yet or not.

in my wm (2bwm) i've been trying out spacial meanings as well. at work i use dual external monitors for my laptop. one screen is dedicated to the web and the other to the terminal (a single urxvt instance running tmux, which multiplexes a variety of shells and tools). i use virtual secondary desktops only when in single screen laptop mode. and i try and keep the same one for www one for term mentality there as well.
z3bra
The ability to concentrate is definitely not what defines me. I could get distracted by a pen sitting on my desk in like 3 minutes.
My work environnement doesn't help either, as we're in open space, and must stay on top of the requests arriving in the chat (hangouts).
Doing sprints on short time periods (eg. with the pomodoro technique) are great for me, but I've found that such techniques take long to prepare (splitting things in small subtasks, etc), and it is inefficient when you need to be multitasking. Focusing only on one task is great for this task, but definitely bad for all other tasks that you're putting on hold.

The way I do multitasking is with tmux usually. I keep one "workspace" per task, and split the window when needed. I work on the task a bit, then switch. By keeping all the windows open its easier to get back the context on thos task when, for example, your run `history` or check the hostnames of the servers you're logged into.

My main struggle then is not to forget about a task... using a ~/.todo file is not enough...
venam
Update on this after more than a year:

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Monotasking, force myself to one window per workspace
This is probably the thing that helped the most. All and all just limiting the number of things I'm doing at once. Making my tasks more lightweight.
(04-04-2018, 04:20 AM)z3bra Wrote: The way I do multitasking is with tmux usually. I keep one "workspace" per task, and split the window when needed.
I now do exactly that: One session per task and put in the background/detach everything else.

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Limiting distraction in the environment surrounding your machine.
My desk is still tidy as usual, no change. I think it's only personal preference.

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Non distracting ambient music
I've found that this doesn't keep me focused at work, but it does when at home with my personal projects.

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Using the `at` for time management of tasks
I've used this for a while but stopped using it. I had a shell script that was notifying me I should switch task. This was more annoying than anything else. What I now do is switch when I can't focus anymore or simply take a break or note the things that popped in my head. What I initially wanted to do with the `at` was to create a sort of Pomodoro but this didn't cut it for me.

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Added a gap at the left and right of the window to allow to view the background color, which is a shade of blue (#5686AA)
xflux to avoid the bad effect of the blue shade at night and sleep well
This is sort of true. My wallpaper is now a map of the world so it has the blue color for the water. The thing is that it's bright, keeps me awake and I don't pay attention to the background either. I'm not sure about xflux effect, I found it annoying when staying late at work and suddenly having it turn into an orangish color, it made me tired...

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Moving text to the top of the page as I read (we read in F shape focusing on the top)
I've done that with webpages mostly. Firefox has that reader-view mode that is super sweet when reading long articles that have annoying ads or content on the sides. Apart from this I keep my windows in the middle of the screen.

(28-02-2017, 05:44 AM)venam Wrote: Doing my most strenuous tasks between 9am-1pm as it's when we have the most focus
This didn't turn out true for me. I guess this varies a lot. It's a mood thing, like when you get obsessed with a topic and feel the excitement to work on it.

Overall, I changed my mind about one thing, I thought digital attention was about order and forcing myself to enter a state of mind but it wasn't that way. As obvious as it sounds you can't force someone to pay attention to something they don't want to pay attention to. I've seen persons with messy desks and computers with icons laying everywhere that could focus really well and do magic stuffs. I guess there are generalities (the bell curve kind of stats) but it also varies a lot. The steps in the original post are more like guidelines you can test.
greduan
Nowadays I'm getting into Deep Work as defined by Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work".

His emphasis is on what Deep Work is, who it has helped (many important scientists and so on), what worsens a person's ability to do Deep Work (social media, etc.), and how to improve it or where you can apply it.

Really can recommend the book Deep Work.

Now as for what I do nowadays:

- During work I put my phone in flight mode and away in some drawer or another room.
- I close/hide (Cmd-h in macOS) all unrelated windows.

The above are the two definite changes. The other big change, which is very hard, is just pure discipline. "Oh I feel like opening Reddit" NO, DON'T DO IT. It's really hard but I think it pays off, at least in improving my chances of getting into Deep Work.
resk
Nice thread!
(21-05-2018, 03:28 PM)greduan Wrote: The above are the two definite changes. The other big change, which is very hard, is just pure discipline. "Oh I feel like opening Reddit" NO, DON'T DO IT. It's really hard but I think it pays off, at least in improving my chances of getting into Deep Work.
Same here,it's about doing a single thing.
(04-04-2018, 05:49 AM)venam Wrote: Overall, I changed my mind about one thing, I thought digital attention was about order and forcing myself to enter a state of mind but it wasn't that way.
Some people have to start somewhere, the addiction is real.




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