If it weren’t for Hack Your Commute, the UK’s marketers would be losing millions of hours of valuable time to pointless procrastination on their daily journeys – at least that’s what we at Marketing Week like to tell ourselves. But even we must admit the painful truth: that our indispensable advice is insufficient to keep some of you from veering off the straight and narrow and getting bogged down in time-wasting activities.
The chief culprit in luring you astray is, of course, the siren song of the smartphone. Not to be vanquished, however, we now have a hack for that too. Don’t be kept from enriching your mind on your commute by the irresistible urge to check Facebook or update your Instagram feed; instead, head to the app store and download one of many phone-blocking apps.
Bashful, for example, very simply asks you to set a time period in which you don’t want to use your phone, then will create a screen overlay that blocks all notifications and access to your apps and home screen.
You can disable it if you want to and incoming calls are allowed, so it requires some willpower, but is more flexible in an emergency than Detox Procrastination Blocker, which is designed not to let you into your phone at all until the time runs out.
For a ‘more carrot, less stick’ approach, you could try Forest, an app in which you plant a seed, which grows into a tree over time as long as you resist using other apps. Should you give in to temptation, your tree will wither and die.
Forest also allows you to create goals and categorise them, and then shows you stats of how focused you are on each type of task. You can also ‘whitelist’ apps that you need for productivity purposes, and unlocking different achievements gives you access to newer, prettier species of tree.