“From email to smartphones, and from social media to Google searches, digital technologies have remodeled the way people learn, entertain ourselves, socialize, and work. In spite of their efficacy, these technologies have often led to information overload, stress, and distraction.” David Levy
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where once you jump out of bed in the morning and the first thing you reach out for is your phone or your tablet? Sometimes, it happens before even we remember to say our morning prayers, right?
If yes, then why does it happen that way?
There could be a million and one reasons to justify these actions. It could probably be because you’re just too anxious to see if that long-awaited bank alert came in while you were still asleep.
Perhaps it’s to check up on whether you had some successful sale closings or probably because you may have been anticipating a reply from one of your clients.
Or just anything at all.
And boom! Before you know it, you’ve switched over very quickly to check the pop-up notifications coming from your social media handles.
You find yourself shuttling between different apps; from WhatsApp to Facebook, and Facebook to Instagram and Instagram to Twitter and the likes.
You do this only to discover later that you have spent a good number of hours on your device without really achieving any tangible thing for yourself.
DOES THIS RESONATE WITH YOU AS WELL? If yes, then read on.
What can you make of this picture right here before you? Does it ring any familiar bell?
Yes, you’re right! This is the ‘new normal’ which has eaten deep into our everyday lives, and it so happens wherever we go that we can hardly stay away from our phones for a reasonable amount of time; if ever we do so, we become somewhat uneased.
This ‘new normal’ is what typifies the lifestyle and normal daily routine of so many individuals especially in this pandemic, both young and old inclusive.
Sometimes, because of the amount of time we use to entertain ourselves and socialize using our devices, we tend to forget our set goals for the day and in the long run, end the day with so many unfinished tasks (both at home and at work).
Nowadays, the use of technology has increasingly led to a lot of distractions and as such, many individuals are unable to meet up with deadlines and end targets in the workplace.
Students (if not properly monitored) may be negatively affected as they would not be able to concentrate fully on their studies, especially while learning online.
How about relationships?
They aren’t left out at all as it often leads to Breakdown in communication between spouses, or between parents and children because of the divided attention which comes with addiction to social media or TV shows like Netflix and others too numerous to mention.
Our eyes become so glued to our digital devices such that we get ourselves lost in the virtual world and as such, we give very little or no attention to those physically present with us.
What a sad reality!
Even though our whole lives now revolve around the use of technology to improve our lives, we must ensure that we put proper measures in place to get over the distractions that come along with it.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Rather than being carried away by the distractions which come with the digital tools around, it is very ideal we do the following things listed below:
Become self-aware of our online habits by asking ourselves the following questions:
Does it add any real value to my life?
Is my total work output and relationship with others being affected negatively?
What would I want to change in my digital involvement?
After asking yourself these questions, endeavour to make some small changes to your digital habits where necessary; especially those habits which do not align with helping you achieve your goals.
Monitor your usage of the internet.
One of the proven ways to do this is to disconnect your internet connection. Another way is by identifying your time-wasting websites and consider blocking them using a website blocker such as Rescuetime and then, the website blocker prevents you from checking them. When once you are able to monitor how we use the internet, it gives you a complex picture of your day and how you spend time on your digital devices. This, to a long extent, will enable you have a well-planned day void of disruptions and unfinished goals.
Add only the very important apps you need to the home screen of your phones
Add only the very important apps you need to the home screen of your phones and also, customise the notifications of those apps in such a way that the different apps have different customised beep tones. Your phone is probably constantly buzzing, beeping, and vibrating because of various alerts that pop up from other apps on your phone. It can be hard to know which alerts are coming from which apps. This is where customizing your app notifications come in. This way, you’ll be able to differentiate the app notifications one from the other as they come in so that you can identify and attend to urgent notifications (especially if you’re buried neck-deep in a task yet to be finished).
Employ the use of ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ mode on your phone.
It blocks all forms of notifications and it’s very important particularly if you’re having a very important meeting or you’re about to get into bed (for a good night rest). Do Not Disturb mode is like silent mode on steroids. It can silence your phone quickly or automatically, but also allow certain people and apps to breakthrough. You can eliminate distractions without missing important notifications though it all depends on how you set it according to Total Silence, Alarms only or Priority only.
Switch off your phone entirely.
Though this is more of an old-school approach, it’s certainly an effective one as it enables you work smartly and keep focus alive. Not just that, it makes you more productive as your brain won’t have to switch rapidly between tasks. This is much more important especially at night. Keeping your phone off at night, or better yet in another room, will help you get the rest you need because if you sleep with your phone beside you and set on vibrate, you probably aren’t sleeping that soundly. So, it’s advisable you switch it off.
Have separate devices for work life and personal life
Have separate devices for work life and personal life or you could use an app, such as Divide to turn your regular mobile device into two separate devices; this enables you to separate business data from personal data. When at work, only your work data should be put on so that you are not cut out from work information, updates and announcements on your online work platforms.
On the other hand, once it’s lunch break at work or your workday is over, then you are free to put on your personal data. Give this tip a trial and you’d be glad to see how it works.
In addition to all these, it will be advisable that workplace meetings be made ‘device-free’. In this light, every worker should be made to attend their workplace meetings without having to go in there with their phones.
The aim is for them to avoid all sorts of distractions as well as divided attention while meetings are in progress.
However, whenever you feel exhausted from working for a long period, you can decide to take a cool break off from work activities and slow down so that you can re-engage more profitably as you get online.
In summary, putting technology in its rightful place will not only enable us to be more productive at work. It will make us be in touch with our body and soul and also help us foster better face-to-face relationships with our close family and friends around.
Most importantly, we will now have better doses of sleep with less stress and anxiety because our health is our wealth.