Imagine you’re in a coffee shop busy answering emails and texting the new friend you made through Tinder. You suddenly lift your head up for a brief second and find almost everyone except the people making the coffee on their phones, and think…
“Hmm, I am not sure if this is a good thing”.
Well, you are certainly not alone. Technology has definitely become a part of (in some cases taken over) our everyday lives.
In a small survey by the Telegraph, 55% of people indicated that they needed to go on a digital diet. Another 17% indicated that their friends needed to. This affects folks who are parents too with elementary school children in North America spending 7.5 hours on entertainment technology.
Before you think “Hold on! Is this another post about technology being an evil?” Certainly not. Websites, apps and services have without a doubt made out lives easier. With the introduction of new technologies and as people become more immersed in the digital space, they tend to get addicted to their devices. This could be voluntary or involuntary.
In this article, we’ll essentially help you understand if or how technology might be hindering your life and how you can correct that.
1. Socialize with people, not just media.
If we think back to the scenario we mentioned earlier, the word “addiction” springs to mind almost instantly. One would think the more time they spend on social media the more people they will get to know and the better relationships they will build. In reality, this is usually not the case for the majority of us.
When we are bored, we turn to social media. After 4 hours of memes and staring at your friends’ Asia tour pictures, you find that people, in reality, have moved on.
“Life is what is happening when we are busy making other plans”.
So what can you do?
Try to use the messaging side of a social platform like Facebook to your advantage and not just its sharing features. Allocate a set time every day to react or respond to notifications. If there is an option to mute notifications from pages try that. Additionally, at work you could have a plugin that blocks social media for a set amount during the day so you can focus on people around you. Try Focus if you’re on Mac or StayFocusd for Chrome if you use a different platform.
We’ve broken down the steps you can take to tackle common problems like addiction to apps, inability to focus, and constant distractions. Our suggestions are more akin to dieting rather than detoxing since the latter can be extreme and unnecessary in most cases.
2. Get some “me time” away from your devices.
It’s pretty common at work to have to-do lists a mile long. The easiest way to get your head down and be productive is to place your phone or tablet well away and work in smaller time interval blocks.
The title of the section can very easily be misconstrued as detoxing. This is certainly not the case, you can obtain a lot of benefits without going to the extreme.
Dieting or having specific blocks on weekends without your phone, tablet or PC in close proximity to you can help reduce stress or that feeling of anxiously waiting for what your friend might say about your new profile picture.
This applies even more so outside the work setting. A good way to separate yourself from your phone (all those memes and highlight reels on Instagram) is to place your phone in the adjacent room or far enough away so you can control your urge to reach out to it. This way you can focus on talking to your partner or maybe read a book.
3. Cut Out Notifications.
One glance at your phone and it’s already11 PM. You finally decide to put your phone down but hear a notification tone and your mind is racing, thinking… “Could it be work?” “Are people starting to like my video?” “Did someone comment about my new car?”
For many a night like this typically ends by passing out at 2 AM and having an underproductive day after.
Combating poor sleeping habits, addiction and constant distraction can all be done by just tweaking notification settings on your apps. The aforementioned issues are quite common among those who constantly surround themselves with technology.
Head to your phone settings and turn off notifications from the apps that are not essential.
Make sure you turn off notifications from being sent to your other devices like tablets or smartwatches as well.
4. Use your apps efficiently.
Apps certainly aren’t the root of all these issues. Interacting with apps efficiently will allow you to be productive without being sidetracked. There are tons of good apps you can which will boost your productivity.
We’ve recently put together a blog post which can get you started on the productivity apps. You can check it out here.
There are plenty of useful time management and skill shaping apps which you can use to your advantage. Try to map out how much time you spend on an app per day or week against the value you get in return. The value can be either monetary or something intangible. This will give you a clearer indication of the apps aiding you and the ones that are harming you.
5. Reconnect with reality.
Accountability is key in following through with the rules you set for yourself. As you start forging meaningful relationships with people in the real world instead of a virtual plane, the task becomes a lot easier.
You can tell people around that you are on the mission of digital decluttering and even that bit of accountability can help you stick to your goal.
VR platforms are gaining pace these days which help simulate a plethora of business and leisure scenarios. Remember to disconnect when a task is done so you can shape your reality and not let your devices shape it for you.
After you’ve started your digital dieting, make sure you follow through when new technologies or apps come your way.
To sum it all up, try to analyze and filter your interaction with different apps and technologies around you. Follow the aforementioned steps and weed out the clutter at a granular level.
Turn off notifications, curb social media use, set strict times for emailing and lead a productive and healthy lifestyle.
About The Author
Eugene is a Marketing Specialist at Setapp, the first Mac app subscription service which gives access to hand-picked apps for every job on your Mac. He loves writing about Marketing, PR, SEM and Productivity, and help readers solve their problems.