No series in how to ease the overwhelm would be complete without addressing how to limit the technology distractions prevalent in our world today.
Technology is a paradox.
On the one hand, it can help us live more effective, efficient and productive lives.
On the other hand, it is the #1 killer of our effectiveness, efficiency and productivity because of distractions.
How much time are you spending on your tech gadgets?
In 2013, the average American spent 58 minutes a day on their smartphone. In 2016, that number quadrupled.
If you don’t think that applies to you, I triple-dog-dare you to install a usage app like Moment or BreakFree on your phone and tablet. See what your numbers look like. It’s horrifying what these distractions are costing us in time!
But the first step in problem solving is admitting you have a problem, right?
In these apps, you can set daily limits for yourself. Just the fact that you know “someone” is counting your minutes can help you control the urge to grab your phone constantly and minimize the distractions.
How many times a day do you get sucked in, ie distracted?
Another way to make more conscious decisions about tech usage and therefore tech distractions is to turn off those pesky notifications. In both Apple and Android phones, if you tap the Settings icon, you can scroll down to Notifications. When you tap that, you’ll see a list of all the apps on your device. Simply turn notifications for them on/off individually.
You have to think strategically. Is it that important that you know when someone posts on Facebook or that your aunt played in Words With Friends?
Facing the Technology Paradox
I faced the technology paradox earlier this year, when I received an Apple Watch for Christmas.
It was a gift I rather reluctantly agreed to (I didn’t think I needed MORE tech in my life) and I am happy to report “I love it!”
I received some coaching around it from productivity expert (and Apple fan-girl) Laura McClellan and her tips helped me use this additional gadget to reduce the usage of my other tech.
When my watch is in silent mode (which is all the time for me), I receive a “thump” on the wrist when I get a phone call or text. With just a glance I can see who it is and whether I need to respond immediately. If it’s short, I can even respond using my watch.
This has reduced the number of times I pick up my phone dramatically! And when I don’t pick up my phone, I don’t get sucked into social media, online games or any other distractions.
It truly has helped me be more productive because I can get into the “zone” easier. And magic happens when I stay in the zone longer without distractions!
My challenge to you, then, is to install a usage app on your devices. Step into the abyss so you recognize the magnitude of the distractions your tech presents. Use the app feature to limit your time – if you think you can stand it!
Then, turn off any non-essential notifications so you can avoid getting sucked in.
Like everything, it’s about making mindful choices and, yes, technology can help you do that better!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: I back up my data with sticky notes because sticky notes never crash!