Why I Removed the Clock from My Computers' Menu Bars
April 8, 2019
Author: Bianca Yang
I decided a few weeks back that I wanted my computer to be a more distration-free work tool. I wanted to be able to immerse myself in my work and not be concerned with stupid banner notifications telling me that somebody had sent me an email or that I had a meeting coming up or that Spotify was changing the song. So I got rid of those. But there was one more obnoxious resident of my menu bar that kept catching the corner of my eye and making me unncessarily distracted: the time.
I have gone through many phases of being unnecessarily distracted by things in my life. At some point it was Internet-based Flash games. Another time it was Messenger notifications. Another time it was Reddit. Another time it was my email. This clock thing, though, has always been insidiously gnawing away at my consciousness. I would constantly glance at it and do calculations for how much longer I had before my next class or appointment. (For those who like knowing how long until their next meeting, install Next Meeting.) So I decided to stop. I got rid of the clock. All that’s left in the upper right hand corner of my Mac and center of the menu bar of my Ubuntu machine is the date in Month Day, Year format.
The big question now is whether this had made any difference in my life. I think so. Psychologically, I feel much more at ease when I have to do long periods of writing work on my computer. I have a reasonable internal clock and memory of my meetings for a given day, so I’ll only check the time when I feel like I’m getting close to an event. Honestly, I’m not sure why I didn’t do this earlier.
I don’t think there’s anything particularly profound about my decision to stop using a clock on my computer. I think it’s merely another measure I’ve decided to take against the digital infilatration of my mind and erosion of my attention span.