Accessibility & Technology

Reclaim Your Digital Focus

Nov 24, 2021

Reclaim Your Digital Focus


Loss of focus doesn’t only happen in the eyes, it also happens in the brain. One of the known killers of concentration is the smartphone with its unending stream of notifications, alerts, sounds, vibrations, reminders and the incessant ding of social media.  At any point in any given day your brain can be hijacked by a totally unwelcome intruder in the form of a digital message.

The good news is, the very creators of this problem, are recognizing it, and have simultaneously released new tools designed to help us get some control over  the chronic distractions, and perhaps begin to recover our ever shrinking attention span. The Do Not Disturb setting, easily implemented by voice assistant in iOS or Android, is a quick way to shut your phone up as needed, but it requires a degree of discipline and is mostly engaged to promote a restful night’s sleep. In iOS 15, Apple adds a new level of settings to help your focus and in Android 12 you’ll find the settings, aptly named: Digital Wellbeing.


Image shows woman at work making the “be quiet” gesture.

Image shows woman at work making the “be quiet” gesture.


Here’s how to begin minimizing distractions from your mobile devices, including iOS and Android tablets, although they seem to deliver far less noise, in general, as compared to their smartphone counterparts. 


Apple iOS 15

On an iPhone running iOS 15, go to Settings (or ask Siri to “Open Settings”) and scroll down to Focus. 

  • In Do Not Disturb you now have the option to share your settings across Apple devices
  • Configure and customize Focus Settings for when you’re at Work or in other Personal scenarios and iOS will guide you through the setup to determine when, where, who and on what schedule you receive messages 


Android 12

In Android, you can say, “Hey Google, Open the settings for Digital Wellbeing. 

  • Choose and set a schedule to select the time you want to block out distractions
  • Select the most distracting apps you want to disable when in Focus Mode
  • Controls in Digital Wellbeing allow you to select which alerts you wish to allow
  • In Do Not Disturb you can choose the People option and authorize anyone allowed to bother you when you are muting distractions
  • Some Android phones turn on “Shhh” mode when the phone is placed screen side down


It does require a bit of set up and some self-discipline, but doesn’t take very long at all to appreciate the quiet and experience an immediate increase in your ability to get things done without interruption.  It gives back a sense of control, the peace and quiet is so much more interesting than the noise, enjoy it.


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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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