How I minimize phone distraction: Use grayscale display

Makzan’s Dispatch 2020 week 16

I apply two strategies to minimize my mobile phone distraction: turning off most notifications and grayscale display.

There are many articles discussing turning off notifications. In this email, I share my experience of turning the display into grayscale. I have been turning my iPhone into grayscale for months. I found it an effective way to minimize distractions from the phone.

Since the debut of the iPhone and Android, our life has forever changed. We frequently hold up our phone unintentionally for no reason. Then, we fall into the distraction black hole and come back only after realize that time wasted for minutes or hours. Often, a single action such as checking a work message becomes checking Instagram, Twitter and reading email newsletters and reply messages.

My solution to this distraction black hole is to turn it into grayscale. It suddenly makes the phone boring to look at. So even I slightly get distracted there, the colorful physical world will grab my attention back from the grayscale display.

Occasionally, I will turn the color back on, but I will make sure I turn grayscale back afterward. During early April, I tried for days turning the phone back into colorful mode. You guessed it, I lost time again using the phone with such color and attractive display. Then I turned the phone back to grayscale and now I have more control of my time.

If you want to try, you can turn the iPhone display into grayscale under the accessibility and color filters setting. In Android, I find that is model by model. During the first day using grayscale display, you may find uncomfortable using your phone. After a few days, hope you will start finding the beauty of contrast and shading patterns when using apps. Also, you will learn which apps use bad color contrast on the user interface.

Links worth sharing

Today I Learned collection by @jbranchaud
https://github.com/jbranchaud/til/

A large collection of development tips and tricks.

UnclePaul.io
https://www.unclepaul.io/

Paul Graham's thoughts, discoveries, and tricks on parenthood.

Flutter on CodePen
https://codepen.io/flutter

The convenient front-end editor just gets a Flutter app development mode.

Interstitial journaling: combining notes, to-do & time tracking
https://nesslabs.com/interstitial-journaling

Roam Research is getting quite a lot of attention these weeks. This is one of the examples using its bi-directional outlining tool.

Halide’s LIDAR camera preview
https://blog.halide.cam/lidar-peek-into-the-future-with-ipad-pro-11d38910e9f8

The Face ID sensor is trying to only resolve an area the size of a human face, with enough accuracy you can use it as a security device. The LIDAR sensor is made for room-scale sensing. It’s basically optimized for scanning rooms in your house.

MacStories: Full of Potential: Developers on the iPad's Past, Present
https://www.macstories.net/stories/full-of-potential-developers-on-the-ipads-past-present-and-future/

I had my first iPad at 2020 April and my first iOS game there. It has been 10 years and the iPad will have another era under the latest iPadOS.

Ulysses on how the iPad changed the way we build apps
https://blog.ulysses.app/ten-years-of-ipad-and-ulysses/

We started hitting the boundaries of this “lets emulate the real world but make it better” concept. New features became increasingly harder to add as everything had to fit into that one tight metaphor of sheets and stacks.

We thought we had a well-structured and simple concept, but it needed to be more structured and even simpler for iPad.

Until next week,
Thomas Mak