The 3-step Strategy to Phone Blocking
No, I don’t mean how to keep people from contacting you. Well, not exactly. What I mean is to keep people from contacting you while you’re working, and to keep this inevitable interruption from breaking your focus.
One of the best things about the pomodoro session is that it puts you into a bubble. You work inside this bubble and can convince yourself to ignore everything outside until your session is done. Something inside of you prohibits you from attempting anything that is not part of the task at hand. A neighbor’s crying baby, mom vacuuming, construction workers on the corner: the Pomodoro Method helps you to drown it all out and get your work done.
EXCEPT, this doesn’t usually work for cell phones. No matter what you promise, you’re always going to want to pay attention to your phone. Every single message, call, Whatsapp, Instagram notification, etcetera, will stick in the back of your mind until you check it. Why?
Because the technology is designed to be addictive and we’ve all become addicts! But this section isn’t meant to handle that. This section is going to help you stay focused when you learn Spanish despite our natural addiction to our cell phones.
One easy way to avoid this is distraction is to keep your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode while you work. This will stop your notifications from coming through. Maybe it won’t stop the indicator light that notifies you of a new “something-or-another,” but it’s a start.
But, you can’t just block everything completely. Some phone calls are important. There may be an emergency that makes breaking your Spanish concentration necessary. Here’s a trick that I teach my students to keep phone calls minimally disturbing without going completely dark.
“Inform. Negotiate. Callback.”
“Inform. Negotiate. Callback.” What does this mean?
First, inform the caller that you’re in the middle of something important. No need to explain further. Just negotiate a time to get back to them. Then, you can contact them again once you’ve finished your session. Simple right?
If the call isn’t more important than continuing your work, just say, “Hey, nice to hear from you! I’m right in the middle of working on something important. Can I call you back in X minutes?”
I know it sounds so basic that it must seem ridiculous, but it works! If you establish this motivational trick—inform, negotiate, call back—as a standard for phone calls every time you sit down to work, it will keep you focused even when your phone rings.
You know how to react because you have a system in place, rather than dealing with the dilemma as it occurs.