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3 min read

6 Tips to Stop Letting Technology Take Control of Your Life

“One look at an email can rob you of 15 minutes of focus. One call on your cell phone, one tweet, one instant message can destroy your schedule, forcing you to move meetings, or blow off really important things, like love, and friendship.” -Jacqueline Leo

I challenge you to get through this piece of content without looking at your phone, watch, or any other tab that’s open on the current device you’re on.

Seems easy enough, right? The reality, however, is that the vast majority of the people reading this may not be able to do that (heck, I won’t even admit the number of times I was distracted while writing this). In fact, Time reported that humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish. The average person can only concentrate for an average of 8 seconds before moving on to something else. 8 seconds!

“Ding! Beep! Chime!” These sounds are the modern soundtracks of our lives. Whether we care to admit it or not, many of us have become tech addicts, which doesn’t always bode well for our productive selves. How are we supposed to focus when we know somebody just liked or commented on our photo? While it’s gratifying in the moment, it’s a true detriment to us in the long run.

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Technology is robbing us of valuable moments, like seeing a nice person smile at you from across the room, or seeing your kid score the winning goal. Studies have shown that technology negatively impacts our relationships, productivity, and ability to learn and think through things.

The sad reality is that we don’t need studies to tell us that, most of us already feel it.

It would be really nice to not be slaves to our technology, and the good news is that it’s easily doable. All it takes is a little bit of discipline at the beginning and then you’ll see the benefits come in soon after. More quality time with loved ones and better cognitive function? Yes, please!

Here are a few ways to regain focus in a technology-driven world.

Actionable Steps

Identify your Distractions

Knowing what your triggers are is often the first step to preventing them from happening. Start taking note of them when you notice them and put a plan in place to avoid or better cope with them moving forward.

Use Technology to Combat Technology

Once you have your distractions identified, don’t hesitate to battle them with technology (oh the irony). There are apps that exist that monitor your screen time. There are others that block social media usage. LifeStarr is a new app designed to keep you organized in less time so you can step away from your screen. The moral of the story is that there are tools you can use to help you detox digitally. At the very least, turn sound and notifications off on your phone, OK?

Establish Work-Life Boundaries

If you have a social media addiction, it could impact your work life. If you have an email addiction, it could impact your personal life. That list can go on, which is why it’s so important to set clear boundaries between your work and personal lives. Having dinner? Put your phone away. In a meeting? Put your phone away. Make sure these distractions don’t cross over into separate areas of your life.

Take Tech-Free Breaks Throughout the Day

Just like how you schedule meetings throughout your day, schedule tech-free breaks as well. During that time go for a walk, read a book or magazine, or chat with a friend. Do whatever you want but make sure technology isn’t involved. You can even set a timer for every 50 minutes and when it goes off, take a 10-minute digital free break. It’s an easy way to establish a routine and make sure those breaks actually happen.

Optimize Your Productive Hours

Mark Twain once said “If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning,” meaning that you should get your hardest tasks done first thing to get them out of the way. But what if you’re not a morning person? Why would you do the hardest things when your energy levels aren’t there? Instead of managing your time to be productive, manage your energy levels. If you know you can’t focus in the morning, use that time for busywork. On the other hand, if you’re a morning person, then you can absolutely get the hardest things done first thing. Match the work you’re doing with the times of day you’re most productive.

Check Email Sparingly

Stop checking your email first thing in the morning. It sets the tone with how you approach technology for the rest of the day. Get ready for the day first, then check email. Then shut your email tab and wait a few hours to check it again. Keeping your email open is distracting and makes you less efficient at whatever else it is you’re doing. Schedule a handful of times each day that are dedicated to email and ignore it the rest of the time to optimize productivity.

Food for thought: Which technology is most distracting to you? Which of the steps above can you implement today to make it less of a distraction so that you can tackle greater things?

This post is a part of series of posts that give a preview of our upcoming guide, Unleash Your Inner Awesome: Motivational Quotes With Actionable Steps to Help You Reach Your Goals and Achieve Great Things. To learn when this guide will be released and get access to it, be sure to follow us on social!

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