How to block distractions: iOS

To do deep work, it helps to block distractions in your environment. Devices like your phone, tablet, and watch are some of the most distracting things in your environment. So how do you block them so that you can get deep work done.

One option is to just turn your devices off or remove them from your environment. Take your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch and put them in the garage, or the basement, or another room, or a closet, or anywhere you can’t see or hear them.

The “out of sight, out of mind” strategy has a downside, though: the devices are actually useful. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have them. For example, you may want to keep your Apple Watch on in order to track activity – or to check the time – even while you are doing deep work. Similarly, you may want to have your tablet or your phone handy to use certain apps for work. Or, you may just want to be able to quickly check notifications in between work sprints, to make sure you haven’t missed an important message from your boss or your ex-wife.

So, what’s the best way to block iOS notifications while keeping your devices close to hand? It is “Do Not Disturb.”

To turn on Do Not Disturb on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings 🠖 Do Not Disturb and set the Do Not Disturb switch at the top to On.

To turn on Do Not Disturb on your Apple Watch, swipe up from the watch face and tap the button with the moon on it so that it is highlighted. This step is not necessary if you have the Apple Watch paired with an iPhone that you have set in Do Not Disturb. The setting flows from the iPhone to the Apple Watch.

To turn off Do Not Disturb, turn the respective switches Off.

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