On Async Productivity

December 03, 20182 min read

Over the last year, I've read a lot of stories regarding uninstalling your social media apps from your phone or disabling notifications but, until very recently, I didn't pay much attention to any of this. I'm a teenager and everyone at my age intensively uses their phone; I thought. It's not like I'm being distracted from my job or anything, right?

Well, then my grades arrived and it turns out I do have a job: studying and getting good marks. The problem is that you need to be extremely focused to be able to memorize stuff and I'm not good at concentrating especially with an internet connection.

I started researching on how to concentrate and to avoid distractions and found out some great resources like Brain.fm (because apparently metal isn't good for studying, who'd have guessed) but I still wasn't able to completely focus on my books.

One day, CleanMyMac accidentaly closed Discord and Whatsapp. When I was going to bed, I noticed I had been a lot more focused and realized that I hadn't received any messages during my study and, because I thought I had the apps open and notifications would appear, I didn't bother checking them.

That was the moment I understood the "delete your social media apps" advice. Today's platforms are built to be instant and you're mean to treat them synchronously: If I received a notification, I'd stop what I was doing to reply or retweet.

You have to go async. When you're working, you don't need to know if someone messaged you. Disable notifications. When you're done (when you want to know if someone messaged you) open the app. It shouldn't depend on the availability of information but on your willingness to receive that information.