I Gained 40 Days of Life

Any activity that consumes 30 seconds of your day adds up to about 10 days of your life. I disabled all electronic alerts: gained 40 days.

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  1. That’s insane! Also, useful for a book I’m writing. Do you know/have the source of the study that produced this finding? If you do, shoot me an email. Thank you!

    • Yes, the source of study that produced this finding was me! If I live to be 80 years old, then 30 seconds every day for 80 years adds up to about 10 days (30 * 365 * 80 / 60 / 60 / 24).

      Over the past few years I’ve become more and more aware that regular, unnecessary alerts are wasting a lot of my time. One day I did the calculation and was astounded. If I just disabled my ‘new email’ alerts, I’d save about 30 seconds every day, some days even more. That was back then. I used to have all kinds of alerts that would get my attention: Twitter Direct Messages (even Twitter mentions for a little while!), alerts from various servers that I monitor, calendar reminders, phone calls, etc. And they weren’t just visual alerts; I had things that actually made sounds to get my attention (oh the blasphemy!).

      I’ve since turned off almost everything. Anything that goes to email only goes to email. If there’s a site I login to at least once a day, like Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, then all alerts stay on the site (all email alerts are disabled). I’ve had my phone set to vibrate for the past few years. It doesn’t make a single sound. New emails don’t make sounds or vibrations. The only things that can generate a visual alert on my phone are calendar reminders, SMS messages and phone calls (both of which I rarely receive), and my alarm. No apps on the phone are allowed to alert me.

      I have no doubt disabling all these electronic alerts has saved me far more than 10 days of my life, not to mention all the attention that I’ve saved. Now I can focus and there are very few electronic things that will break that focus.


  • Tal Gur July 1, 2013