Will your iPhone help you concentrate?

iOS15 focus control

Last Updated on 1 October 2021

If you use an iPhone you may be aware of Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 15.

Apparently it’s full of “amazing” new features. Apple are going big on new memojis, and clever things that FaceTime can now do.

As a trainer in freelance business skills the new feature which caught my eye is called ‘Focus’.

Work focus page

You can now decide which notifications you get or which apps you can see depending on what you’re doing at the time. Apple list things like:

  • set up a ‘Focus’ for work, personal time, sleep, and others
  • use location or time of day to get your phone to help you focus
  • get notifications for different apps and people, depending on what you’re doing
  • change your Home Screen depending on what you’re focussing on (eg work or otherwise)
  • set a kind of ‘out of office’ message for people who try to contact you when you’re not focussing on that bit of your life

A bit OTT?

This sounds a bit odd at first. A lot of over-engineered fuss? Surely you just need your phone to do everything you want all the time.

But if you’re freelance there is a huge value in being able to filter what your phone is telling you depending on your mindset.

This is because you need all the control you can find to ensure you have a personal life away from your work, as well as concentrating on work when you’re on duty for your freelance life.

[NB: If your response to this is ‘but I’m on duty for my freelance life all the time”, you’re doing it wrong.]

You certainly don’t want to be ‘just checking your work messages’ on a day you’re not working.

It’s an essential freelance skill to balance the time you dedicate to work life and personal life. If you get it wrong you will be inefficient when you work or may burn out because you’re working too hard.

Other ways of focussing

If you’ve been on one of my ‘setting up as a sole trader’ courses you’ll know I go big on having a work mindset when you’re working, and not letting work encroach into your personal life.

I have always done this by using

  • two phones, one for work and one for the evenings and weekends (when I don’t usually work)
  • two email addresses; one for work contacts and one for close friends and family
  • two user accounts in my computer; one for me working, and one for me not working (eg doing family photos or emailing the plumber.)

Apple’s new feature looks a bit like a mixture of these approaches, especially the third one.

So I applaud what Apple are doing here. I will certainly try out the Focus feature. (It’s downloading onto my work phone as I type this.)

But I will probably still keep my work life and personal life on separate phones.

There’s nothing so satisfying as switching off your work phone at the end of a busy working day.

David shows off two phones
Two-phones Thomas! Work on the left, personal life on the right.

Posted on 29 September 2021

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.