Typically, social media and technology are known for ruining productivity for entrepreneurs, students, and professionals. However, it seems executives of companies like Apple and Facebook are attempting to think of ways to keep us focused on what matters through some of the new features with the most recent update of iOS. As a disclaimer, this article will be heavily focused on iOS and not Android, however, I'm sure there are similar features on Android phones. 1. iPhone's Screen Time
Apple has expanded from what I believe used to be called "Usage" to creating a separate function of your iPhone that helps you manage your time spent on the various applications on your phone. Screen time allows you to schedule downtime, set time limits for certain apps, and allows you to review your activity for the past 7 days. You can also use this information to set time goals for yourself whether the goal is to increase time on an app like Google Docs or decrease time on an app like Facebook or Candy Crush. It does have its limitations since you actually have to make the decision to turn the app off when the time limit has been reached after the notification pops up. 2. Instagram's "Your Activity" Tab
One of my personal favorites that acts as an extension of Apple's screentime is Instagram's "Your Activity" tab where you can decide what your daily time limit on Instagram is and set a reminder when you go over that pre-set time limit. Similar to iPhone's screen time, you still have to make the conscious decision to actually leave the app once your time limit has passed. My personal limit is set at 20 minutes daily here, though my average is at 10 minutes. 3. Do Not Disturb (DND) and Airplane Mode
This feature, although not new is another one of my personal favorites and probably one of the most underutilized features on the iPhone. I use both DND and airplane mode when I really need to get focused and get some work done. I have some relatively entertaining group chats that make it a little difficult to focus at times, and thirty minutes of either feature makes it easy for me to put my attention on the task at hand. 4. Boomerang for Gmail My work, fortunately, does not require that I spend a lot of time monitoring my email, but in the case that yours does, you'll want to enlist the help of Boomerang for Gmail. I'll admit personally that I do not quite understand all of the features of this amazing add-on, but I do know you have the ability to pause your inbox so that your notifications stop popping up for a set period of time on your desktop. I also like the fact that Boomerang will also remind you if you don't respond to an email that it senses requires your attention. One of the best features allows you to write an email at 2 am while burning the midnight oil and schedule it to send at a decent hour so that you don't wake your clients up with emails. All four of these tools are things I use on a daily basis and I have personally seen the impact they've had on my ability to get things done as efficiently as possible. However, they are only tools and will only assist in the level of discipline you have. It is still your personal decision to choose better in terms of what you do with your time and how each of those decisions adds up to your amount of success at the end of each day. Hopefully, our technology manufacturers will continue to come up with ways to limit distractions and increase the focus we have on our goals. For now, we are responsible for taking advantage of them and making our dreams come true.