Is digital distraction a problem for you?
Today’s homes, schools, workplaces and other places of the gathering are overloaded with digital distractions. We’re constantly exposed to messages and alerts on our computers, tablets and smartphones and it’s getting increasingly harder to focus on the relevant tasks at hand and avoid procrastination.
The environment in which we are constantly connected can negatively affect professional and personal aspects of our lives as we are actively wasting time and energy on trivial information and superficial interactions that are keeping us busy while also keeping us away from feeling productive and fulfilled. While a clever use of technology can improve our knowledge, focus and efficiency, giving in to digital distractions excessively will diminish our ability to maintain focus and be productive.
It’s necessary to establish control over our use of technology and develop more mindful and efficient ways to use it. Here are some tips that might help with achieving professional and personal life balance when dealing with digital distraction.
Focus your attention and organize your tasks
People who are regularly exposed to several sources of content at the same time tend not to memorize important information or manage their ongoing tasks as well as those who focus on one thing at a time. Focusing on more than what is the task at hand can lead to reduced productivity and engagement, especially in the workplace.
You should aspire to be fully present and in control of your attention in order to perform the important tasks efficiently. Keeping a regularly updated to-do list can help maintain focus over longer periods of time, as you will be able to instantly write down both important and distracting thoughts and keep them for later.
Take a digital detox
Designate periods of time in which you will be completely away from the Internet, television, video games and other digital distractions. Immerse yourself in work-related topics or creative pursuits that will contribute to your professional and personal growth and education. Start with smaller periods of time and gradually increase them to test your anxiety levels to determine how big of a problem do you have with dealing with digital distractions.
If you cannot rely on your willpower only to keep you away from everyday temptations, there are different approaches worth trying listed further below.
Use digital tools to control digital distractions
Ironically, technology can be used to control the use of technology. There are many options available for both desktop and mobile devices. Distraction blockers are programs, apps or browser extensions that prevent you from using specific websites, entire browsers or the Internet altogether. Other programs such as personal analytics software include features such as tracking, measuring and analyzing time spent online. If your job involves writing, there is distraction-free writing software.
Using a schedule maker can help allocate specific working hours in which employees will refrain from digital distractions, which will help them be more productive during the designated working hours. None of these tools will miraculously solve all distraction issues, but they can prove to be helpful if you are committed and disciplined enough to use them to improve your productivity.
Turn off smartphone notifications
To limit the ongoing distractions that come with owning a smartphone, turn off all non-essential notifications, such as those related to social media accounts and games. Enter the “Do Not Disturb” mode and leave the sound volume on only for urgent calls from important contacts on your white list. Control the times in which you will check your apps and schedule them appropriately throughout the day so they don’t hinder your work or social interactions.
Schedule and optimize e-mail use
Don’t check your email first thing in the morning, as this sets the tone for a day full of distractions. Designate specific times of the day in which you will check and respond to your email. Filtering and prioritizing email should also help with decluttering your inbox. Important work and personal emails should not be lost in piles of irrelevant ones, so try unsubscribing from mailing lists that don’t offer useful or meaningful content.
There are many other approaches to consider when dealing with digital distraction and they will depend on your personal experience and specific use of digital media. To sum it up, using these and other strategies to limit digital distraction can help you effectively battle procrastination and lack of attention to truly meaningful aspects of life such as work performance and real-world social interactions.